Riyadh steps up labor relations with Dhaka

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TOP-LEVEL MEETING: Labor Minister Adel Fakeih receives visiting Bangladesh Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Khandker Mosharraf Hossain and his delegation, in Riyadh on Monday. (AN photo)

A special delegation from the Ministry of Labor will be visiting Dhaka soon to coordinate orientation programs for the Bangladeshi workers who are due to arrive in the Kingdom for employment.
Bangladesh Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, who met his Saudi counterpart Adel Fakeih in Riyadh told Arab News Monday, that he had fruitful discussions to strengthen the bilateral relations on labor affairs.
Bangladesh Ambassador Mohamed Shahidul Islam also took part in the bilateral talks.
“Bangladesh will receive a team from Saudi Arabia to set up orientation programs for Kingdom-bound workers from the country,” Hossain said, adding that such orientation would help his countrymen to fit into various jobs with ease and the satisfaction of both the employer and the employees.
Describing the talks as highly successful, the visiting minister said the discussions centered on various topics such as human resources development, manpower training, the recruitment of Bangladesh manpower to the Kingdom and several other issues related to the labor affairs of the two countries.
The minister explained that the talks also focused on several issues related to the Bangladesh workforce in the Kingdom. “There are some 1.5 million Bangladesh workers in the Kingdom and such a large presence in a country would experience some problems which should be settled through negotiations.”
Hossain also said that the two parties agreed to exchange high-level visits between the two countries. He said that he had extended an invitation to the Saudi labor minister for an official visit to Dhaka within a period of three months.
The visiting minister is accompanied by a team comprising Mohamed Abul Kalam Azad, Senior Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office; Khandaker Maryland Iftekhar Haider, Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment; Begum Shamsun Nahar, Director General, Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, and high officials of the Government of Bangladesh.
Prior to the ministerial meeting, Deputy Labor Minister Dr. Moufarrej Al-Haqbani hosted a luncheon in honor of Hossain. Subsequently in the evening, the minister met his community members at the Riyadh Palace Hotel. He said the two countries have enjoyed excellent bilateral relations for several decades. “Our relationship is bound by religion, culture and common understanding,” he stressed.
Speaking to Arab News, Ambassador Islam said that the discussions opened up several new areas of cooperation between the two countries. He noted that it may be too early to make an announcement but he was hopeful that the labor relations between the two countries may have stepped up with this important visit.
The Kingdom slowed down the manpower recruitment from Dhaka in 2008.The country has its embassy and consulate in Riyadh and Jeddah respectively.
Around one hundred thousand pilgrims come for Haj annually and a large number of Umrah pilgrims also come from Dhaka throughout the year.

Source: Arab News