Saudi-bound expats continue missing flights

Govt to extend all-out support to them: FM

Rajib Kanti Roy

28 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Saudi-bound Bangladeshi expatriate workers continue to struggle to get proper information regarding the process of their hotel booking for their quarantine period.

The situation pushed them to the wall as none of the authorities concerned provide actual information.

Many of them said they have missed their prescheduled flights after failing to book hotel rooms for staying in seven-day on-arrival institutional quarantine in the Gulf State.

Nasir Uddin, a Dammam-bound stranded worker who came from Lakshmipur’s Ramgati, said, “I bought ticket of a Saudia flight which was scheduled to leave Dhaka on Thursday morning. But I couldn’t return to my workplace as I failed to book hotel room for staying in

quarantine.”

“I went to Saudia office several times and officials working there told me to bring money for booking hotel room but when I came back they said I have to book my room on my own,” he added.

“I contacted my Kafil [sponsor] and requested him to book a room in a hotel listed by the Saudi government but he said I have to do it from Bangladesh,” he said, adding that now he does not know how he would return to Saudi Arabia.

Several phone calls were made to the Saudia’s Karwan Bazar office. The Daily Sun also tried to contact the officials of the airlines to know their statement but found no designated person to talk to.

Hamidur Rahman, another Saudi-bound worker, claimed that when he contacted the Biman Bangladesh Airlines’ Motijheel office for hotel room booking, he was asked to do it personally.

However, Tahera Khandaker, deputy general manager of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, said Biman is booking hotels for its passengers. And if passengers face problems, they are requested to contact the Biman call center.

According to the travel advisory issued by the Saudi civil aviation authority, “The reservation for the institutional quarantine shall be done through the airlines.”

It also said airlines should contact the institutional quarantine establishments which are selected by the Saudi ministry of tourism and they shall inform the General Authority of Civil Aviation and the tourism ministry regarding the contacted quarantine institutions.

A number of migrant workers have alleged that they rushed to one desk to another at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the last three days to confirm their hotel room reservation but did not get any help from the airlines officials.

Many workers also gathered in front of the Saudi Airlines office in Karwan Bazar but did not get any positive assurance in this regard.

A number of former top leaders of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) said more than 33,000 Saudi-bound expatriate workers are waiting to go to Saudi Arabia in the next one month after completing their visa procedures and with tickets in their hands.

They said if the Saudi-bound expatriate workers continue to face complexities in booking hotel rooms, many of these workers may fail to go to their workplaces in time and their visas might expire in

that case.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed his ministry to take initiatives for arranging hotel facilities for the Saudi-bound Bangladeshi workers who are required to stay in quarantine for seven days.


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