April 13, 2024, 9:23 am

Rajib Kanti Roy

2023-05-20 23:56:49 BdST

An opportunity missed!

Bangladesh has probably lost the Romanian labour market, a potential destination for its workers, thanks to sheer negligence, greed and stupidity of a few individuals and recruiting agencies.

A visa team sent by the Romanian government to Bangladesh to issue visas to its workers has left the country last month with no ministry ready to disclose the actual reasons for their departure.

Although Romania has no embassy in Bangladesh, at the request of Bangladesh’s foreign ministry, the Romanian government sent a visa team to Dhaka in March this year.

The team started issuing visas after setting up a temporary office on the fifth floor of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) Bhaban in Kakrail area of Dhaka, but they left Bangladesh in the third week of April.

Asked about the reasons for the Romanian team’s departure from Bangladesh, BMET Director General Md Shahidul Alam said he has no idea about it.

“I don’t know why they have left Bangladesh. They haven’t said anything to us. The foreign ministry may be able to tell the reason,” he told the Daily Sun.

This correspondent contacted Seheli Sabrin, director general of the Public Diplomacy and spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to know whether the foreign ministry knows the reasons for their departure, but she didn’t respond.

According to sources at the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, a six-member visa team from the southeastern European country came to Dhaka last March with preparations to issue visas to 15,000 skilled workers in Bangladesh in six months.

They opened a page on Facebook to address related queries of aspirant workers and issued visas to about fifteen hundred Bangladeshi workers in one and a half months. But on April 18, they suspended the page suddenly and a few days later they left Dhaka quietly.

The team came to issue visas to skilled workers, but sources have also confirmed that those who were sent in front of the team could not prove their mettle and therefore the visa rejection rate was almost 90 percent.

“The team was disappointed with this and so were the recruiting agencies with them. A few recruiting agencies offered bribes to grant visas to unskilled workers. When the team refused the offer, they indirectly threatened them. In such a situation, they left the country,” said an official at the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment.

It is to be mentioned that the first Romanian visa team came to Bangladesh in 2022 and worked at an office at the BMET Bhaban.

In three months from April last year, some 5,400 Bangladeshis took visas and went to Romania to work.

Inspired by last year’s success, Romania sent a bigger visa team this time which also set up their office at the BMET Bhaban.

In December last year, referring to a letter sent by Ambassador of Bangladesh to Romania Daud Ali, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said the European country will hire over one lakh workers, mostly for the construction sector.

They showed their interest in taking a large part of these necessary workers from Bangladesh and Nepal.

According to United Nations data, there were only 161 Bangladeshi citizens in Romania in 2020. Within the next two and a half years, about 18,000 Bangladeshis have legally migrated to the European country for work, making the Bangladeshis almost 40 percent of the total foreign workers in Romania.

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