Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bangladesh keen to send thousands of workers back to Libya


Photo: Panic stricken Bangladesh migrant workers makes desperate escape to neighbouring Tunisia

SALEEM SAMAD

BANGLADESH IS keen to send thousands of workers to Libya who fled the beleaguered country in April.

Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, the government minister for expatriates' welfare and overseas employment, on Sunday said officials plan to resend tens of thousands of construction workers and other employees back to Libya.

The Bangladesh embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli is negotiating with several Korean, Japanese and other private companies who had employed Bangladesh migrant workers but who were repatriated soon after the country plunged in civil war that ended last week with the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Diplomats in Tripoli said many international companies that shut down factories during the violence were also keen to reinstate Bangladeshi workers.

Despite its poor economy, Bangladesh had to bring home at least 36,000 migrant workers who had abandoned their jobs in Libya after the outbreak of civil unrest in North Africa.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) helped repatriate panic-stricken workers who poured into the neighbouring countries of Tunisia and Egypt.

Hossain is confident that the country will be able to send tens of thousands of workers as there is need of a huge workforce to rebuild Libya.

Thousands of Bangladeshi doctors, nurses and engineers have opted to stay back at their work station in Libya. In fact they were asked not leave the workplace by employers, despite risk of their life during the eight months civil war.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes in Jihad, forced migration, good governance and elective democracy. He has recently returned from exile after living in Canada for six years. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com