The Benghazi-based Libyan government in response to a government request has banned Bangladeshi migrants from employment in the trouble-torn North African country.
Bangladesh envisages a promising employment market for migrant workers after the country comes out of the civil war raging in several of its regions.
The authority in Benghazi has been requested not to issue employment visa to non-skilled migrants, except to technical (skilled) employments, a highly placed source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Sunday.
The top official on condition of anonymity has scoffed at speculations that Libya has unilaterally stopped employment of Bangladesh migrant workers. "Rather it was Bangladesh government which had urged Libya in a bid to streamline the overseas employment regime and to stop opportunities taken by human trafficker's alluring people to find jobs in Libya."
The civil war raging in Libya by several factions has forced Libyans to flee the cities and towns for safety and security.
Several human traffickers are smuggling foreign migrants across the Mediterranean Sea to European destinations, mostly by dumping the boat refugees on the coasts of Sicily, Greece and Italy.
The human traffickers are also active in Bangladesh. They recruit Bangladeshis for the Arab countries, especially Libya.
The traffickers allure the migrants convincing them that the war-ravaged country needs thousands of workers for infrastructure development and reconstruction of cities after the fall of the totalitarian nationalist leader Muammar Gaddafi.
After the ouster of Gaddafi, the North African country has turned into a major hub of human traffickers for smuggling African migrants by boats to Italy.
Dhaka has instead taken additional precautions after holding dialogue with the internationally recognised Benghazi-based government to halt trafficking of innocent poor migrants duped by fake employment letters.
Hundreds of Bangladeshis have reached Libya and found that the job letters were fake. Whereas, the Libyan Embassy in Dhaka have issued job visa to the applicants with the fake letters, it was alleged.
The traffickers have cheated an estimated Tk 10 lakh for each visa. The applicants raised the money by selling their landed properties or by taking personal loans on high interest rates.
The job seeker has to pay again a ransom money of Tk 10 lakh before being forced to board a rickety boat, not fit for carrying hundreds of passengers to Italy."They (migrant workers) are economically and mentally ruined," the official remarked.
Recently the acting Libyan Ambassador in Bangladesh was called at the MOFA to discuss the pressing issues of trafficking, overseas employment and plight of Bangladeshis rescued at the Mediterranean coasts.
The envoy was urged to stop issuing fresh visas to non-skilled migrant workers. Meanwhile, the two countries agreed that the skilled and those whose employment visas have expired after returning home would be facilitated visa after required official formalities.
It has also been agreed that the visa seekers for both categories of skilled and non-skilled workers must register with the Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Ltd (BOESL), the state-owned manpower exporting company.