Special flights to send migrant workers abroad

Staff Correspondent

16 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The government will operate special flights to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Singapore to make sure that migrant workers can fly to their host countries amid the strict lockdown.

A decision in this regard was taken on Wednesday at a virtual inter-ministerial meeting with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen in the chair.

Secretaries to the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, and Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority and Managing Director of Biman Bangladesh Airlines joined the meeting.

After the meeting, Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Ahmed Munirush Salehin said the meeting has taken three major decisions.

The Civil Aviation Authority has been asked to ensure a detailed work plan to launch special flights to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar and Singapore, so that expatriate workers can travel to their host countries.

Moreover, recruiting agencies have to take the responsibility of bringing passengers to the airport in compliance with the health rules, including the coronavirus negative certificate.

The secretary also said in case of emergencies, the expatriate workers can get clearance from the Bangladesh mission concerned and come to the country with the Covid-19 negative certificate and follow quarantine conditions.

On April 11, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) decided to suspend all international and domestic flights for a week from April 14, two days after the Cabinet Division issued a notification regarding lockdown with strict restrictions.

The decision to suspend international flights had hurt expatriate workers and businessmen involved in foreign employment.

According to the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) and Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) data, around 50,000-60,000 visas are being processed and tickets for 20,000-25,000 workers have been issued.

The decision was taken following two press conferences arranged by BAIRA and ATAB on Tuesday.

Expatriate workers said that after being stuck in the country for a long time, they tried a lot and spent money to book hotels for quarantine with tickets as per the conditions of the destination countries.