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Tue 25 Mar 2008 02:04 AM

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Saudi shuns Bangladeshi labour - ban confirmed

Kingdom will no longer hire workers from country for housing and agriculture sectors.

Saudi Arabia has confirmed it will no longer hire Bangladeshi workers in the housing an agriculture sectors, it was reported on Monday, following media speculation that the kingdom had banned all workers from the South Asian country.

The decision was taken “in view of the fact that the quota fixed for Bangladeshi workers in the kingdom was over”, Labour Minister Gazi Al-Gosaibi was quoted by UAE daily Gulf News as saying.

Workers from the Asian country would be restricted to the medical and engineering fields, Al-Gosaibi said.

“However, there will be an exception for the jobs in the maintenance and cleaning sectors with the condition that their percentage in all the sectors should not exceed 20%,” he clarified.

Rumours that Saudi Arabia had stopped hiring Bangladeshis altogether had circulated after reports linking them to criminal acts including theft, printing fake currency and running illegal businesses, Gulf News reported.

Meanwhile, the Saudi ambassador in Dhaka said the kingdom would begin issuing visas to Bangladeshi workers on Wednesday after a short halt caused by “technical reasons”.

Bangladesh announced a new minimum wage for unskilled workers in Saudi Arabia earlier this month, saying it would not approve visas for workers earning less than 550 riyals ($147) per month.

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