The government will help Saudi-bound Bangladeshi expatriate workers in booking hotel rooms for seven-day on-arrival institutional quarantine and provide subsidy for quarantine accommodation to all the workers travelling to the Gulf State.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen confirmed the matter to the Daily Sun on Friday.“We will bear 50 percent money or Tk 25,000 so that all Saudi-bound Bangladeshi expatriate workers can afford the quarantine facilities in designated hotels,” Dr Saleheen said.
“The subsidy will be provided to all the Saudi-bound expatriate workers — who will go to the Kingdom from now on and the workers who already have reached the Gulf State. The workers who already have reached Saudi Arabia will get this facility through our embassy,” he added.
He said the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry will make a list of those who are going to Saudi Arabia or have already reached the country with the help of different airlines and Bangladesh Embassy.
The secretary said the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment is working on it and discussing the issue with Bangladeshi labour counsellors and officials of different airlines to find the best possible ways to stand by the workers.
“We asked our embassy to identify the designated hotels which are less expensive as if our expatriate workers can stay in less expensive hotels and they won’t need much money to add with our subsidy,” Dr Saleheen said.
“We are working with several ministries, travel agents and officials of different airlines to ensure smooth return of our Saudi-bound expatriate workers,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working through diplomatic channels so that Saudi employers pay the hotel bills of their workers.He expects that that if any Bangladeshi passenger misses flight or needs to change flight date on different grounds, airlines will issue fresh ticket and will accommodate them in other flights without any charge.
Talking about the government’s assistance in booking hotel rooms, the secretary said they will inform all about the details of whole process soon after finalising it.
When asked about the Saudi authority’s precondition for having valid health insurance policy covering Covid-19 before and upon arrival in the Kingdom for all workers to enter the Gulf state, Dr Saleheen said the government introduced insurance facilities for expatriate workers through Jiban Bima Corporation.
“We will go through it and examine that whether it includes treatment facilities for Covid-19 affected patients or provides international coverage,” he said.
Saudi-bound Bangladeshi expatriate workers have been going through severe uncertainty regarding their return to their workplaces since the country imposed new conditions on international travellers, including mandatory quarantine at hotels spending own money.
In such a situation, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said that the government would help Saudi-bound workers to book hotel rooms and provide subsidy for hotel bills.