Under a deal signed on Tuesday, the Saudi government is likely to hire 10,000 skilled Bangladeshi workers from next month under 12 categories of domestic workers such as maids, drivers, housekeepers, security guards and gardeners.
Thirty-two-year-old Zakir Hossain travelled more than 170 kilometres from Netrakona to the capital early yesterday only to have his name registered with the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) for a job placement in Saudi Arabia.
Not even fears of arson attacks by alleged blockaders could deter him from taking bus rides after his elder brother told him about the low cost of migration to the Kingdom — only Tk 20,000 — agreed between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia a couple of days ago.
“Soon after getting a phone call from my brother, I made up my mind that I would reach Dhaka anyhow,” said Zakir, who runs a small shop at his village.
Like him, 25-year-old Mizanur Rahman, a garment worker in the capital, also had his name registered with the BMET with a hope to get a job in the oil-rich Middle Eastern country.
Meanwhile, manpower touts made some quick bucks from hundreds of jobseekers desperate for filling in a form to register their names online.
People from across the country in the last two days thronged the Probashi Kalyan Bhaban in the capital’s Eskaton Garden to register their names with the BMET on rumours that the deadline for registration would expire yesterday.
Touts came apparently from nowhere and offered help for filling in the registration form for Tk 50 to Tk 200.
Expatriates’ Welfare Secretary Khandaker Iftekhar Haider said some unscrupulous people created confusion among jobseekers about a newspaper advertisement.
“We made it clear that no deadline has been set for online registration. It’s a continuous process and jobseekers can register at the manpower offices in their respective districts” he said.
The Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) published the advertisement in five Bangla dailies on Friday and Saturday, drawing the attention of jobseekers to register their names online at a stall at Digital World 2015, the country’s largest technology fair.
The circular said the four-day fair would begin on February 9 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. Besides, people can register at the BMET office housed at Probashi Kalyan Bhaban.
However, the BMET stall at the Digital World 2015 was shut yesterday to avoid heavy rush of jobseekers.
Siddiqur Rahman from Munshiganj said, “I don’t know how to read and write. So I paid a man Tk 50 to help me fill in my form.”
Such “helps” were aplenty in the area between the Police Convention Hall and Bangladesh Institute of Strategic Studies at Eskaton Garden.
But none of them would disclose their identities. They would rather introduce themselves as application form sellers. “Please don’t take my photograph. I’m only selling application forms,” said a youth.