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Fate of 25,000 BD migrants uncertain

ATAB, BAIRA for keeping international flights out of purview of lockdown

Published : Wednesday, 14 April, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 144

Jobs of around 20,000 to 25,000 Bangladeshi migrants are now uncertain as the government has cancelled operation of all international flights from today due to spike in coronavirus infection.
Under this circumstance, leaders of the Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) and Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) demanded that international flights operation be kept out of the purview of the lockdown.
They claimed that the huge number of migrant workers would face uncertainty over reaching their workplaces abroad and lose their jobs.
In separate press conferences held on Tuesday at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU), leaders of Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) and Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) made the demand.
Leaders of the trade bodies also claimed that the weeklong ban on international flights to and from Bangladesh will cause expire of visas of many workers.
If they fail to reach workplaces abroad due to suspension of international flights, respective employers of the countries will also cancel their visa permits. And thus a huge number of workers will lose their jobs, they said.
Most of the expatriate workers, who failed to go to their workplaces in the last year's lockdown, have failed to return again despite the government's initiative to send them back.
Only a few number of migrants could return to their workplaces last year, ATAB President Monsur Ahmed Kalam told reporters in response to a query while briefing media on the issue.
Following the government instruction, Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh on April 11 announced to suspend operation of all international passenger flights to and from Bangladesh from April 14 to April 20 in a bid to contain Covid-19 infection.
However, media, medical services, humanitarian, relief, cargo, technical landing (for refueling only) and the flights cleared under special consideration will remain out of the purview of this suspension, CAAB said.
BAIRA and ATAB leaders also demanded that manpower sector should be out of the purview of lockdown by declaring it as an emergency service sector.
Monsur Ahmed Kalam said thousands of expatriate visas had expired due to a two-month-long ban on international flights during the lockdown last year.

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