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‘Provide outline for inoculating migrant workers’

by Khan Helal

A platform of recruiting agencies yesterday urged the government to give an “outline” while inoculating migrant workers with Covid-19 vaccine.

Forming a human chain in front of the capital’s Jatiya Press Club, members of Recruiting Agencies Oikya Parishad (RAOP) said the government earlier allotted 1.20 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine for migrant workers on paper only.

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In reality, no effective step was taken to vaccinate migrant workers with those doses, they said.

Recently, the health minister assured expatriates’ welfare minister of providing migrant workers with vaccine on a priority basis. But, no specific outline was given to this end, they added.

They urged the government to immediately implement its measure to inoculate on a priority basis both migrant workers who are waiting to fly abroad with new employment visa and those who remained stuck after coming home on vacation.

Addressing the human chain, RAOP President M Tipu Sultan thanked the government for including migrant workers in the vaccination programme.

He, however, said problem still remains since the government has taken an initiative to provide migrant workers with Sinopharm vaccine, which is not accepted by the biggest host-country Saudi Arabia.

To resolve it, he urged the government to arrange either Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson vaccine for migrant workers.

At the human chain, RAOP members also demanded that the government fix a “labour fare” for migrant workers and implement it to reduce “illogical” ticket price hike by different airlines.

Some airlines authorities including Biman Bangladesh airlines hiked airfare three to four times for different Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia, they said.

While ticket price for Arab countries from neighbouring South Asian countries remained within a cost equivalent to between Tk 18,000 and Tk 22,000, ticket price for same destination from Bangladesh is between Tk 70,000 and Tk 90,000, they added.

The platform members demanded that the government allocate different stimulus packages for the sector as an industry.

Moreover, they urged the government to take step for including all licensed recruiting agencies in the lists of all Bangladesh and foreign missions.

They also urged the government to bring changes in the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2012 to stop “harassment” against recruiting agencies.

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