A five-year ban preventing Bangladeshi citizens from seeking work in the UAE could soon be lifted, according to reports.
The National cited Nurul Islam, Bangladesh’s minister of expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment, as predicting the 2012 ban will end “very soon”.
“We have received a very positive response from UAE officials about the reopening of visas and the visa ban is going to be lifted very soon,” he was quoted as saying after a meeting with minister of human resources and emiratisation Saqr Ghobash.
The UAE first introduced the ban following a spike in crime by Bangladeshis.
It has prevented the 700,000 Bangladeshi workers in the country from changing jobs, leading to abuse by companies in some cases.
Instances of Bangladeshi labourers being illegally forced to pay visa renewal fees by employers are well documented, according to the publication.
Islam speculated that the ban would need to be lifted due to increased construction labour needs as the UAE prepares to host Dubai Expo 2020.
Bangladesh has in recent years sought to improve the education of its foreign workforce through 70 training centres, which provide a month of cultural education to workers for free.
Begum Shamsun Nahar, secretary at the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment department, was quoted as saying now 52 per cent of the workforce is classed as skilled through training, from 50 per cent unskilled previously.