Saudi Arabia has lifted the ban on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers, local media quoted the ministry of Labour and Social Development as saying.
The ban, partly in force since 2008, only allowed domestic helpers from Bangladesh to work in the kingdom.
Bangladesh ambassador Golam Moshi told local daily Arab News that the move follows a meeting between Saudi King Salman and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in June.
He said the new decision would allow all categories of Bangladeshi workers including skilled, unskilled, professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers, farm and construction workers to enter Saudi Arabia.
Currently, some 60,000 of the 1.3 million Bangladeshi workers in the kingdom are female domestic workers. On average, 6,000 female workers arrive in the kingdom every month.
In January, Saudi’s minister of Labour Mufrej Al-Haqabani and Bangladeshi minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Nurul Islam agreed to enhance cooperation by addressing issues to reduce migration cost, impart training to Saudi-bound workers and allow for the recruitment of more male workers.
“Visas for male domestic workers were issued only from June, and there is a sizable number coming into the kingdom regularly,” Moshi told Arab News.
“We have around 48 categories of workers serving in all parts of the kingdom,” he added.
Saudi Arabia used to hire about 150,000 Bangladeshis each year until 2008, according to official data.
In 2008, Saudi announced that it would stop hiring Bangladeshi workers in the housing and agricultural sectors. Officially it was to equalise the flow of migrants from Bangladesh with those of places like India and Pakistan.
Following that, only an average of 10,000 workers from Bangladesh were hired per year.