Dhaka-based newspaper the Financial Express has published an editorial stating that the decision of the Maldivian authorities to deport illegal Bangladeshi nationals “should be considered quite embarrassing for Bangladesh.”
“However, the incidence of deportation of illegal Bangladeshi workers from the countries of the Middle East, South East Asia and Europe is not infrequent. It does take place within or beyond the knowledge of the authorities concerned in Dhaka. But the issue of deportation is neither taken seriously nor does it give rise to any feeling of embarrassment here.
“According to the Maldivian foreign minister, the number of Bangladeshis in his country is around 50,000 now and one-third of them are either working or staying there illegally. The minister has urged Dhaka to take appropriate steps to stop illegal migration to the Maldives, which, he said has become a thriving business for unscrupulous manpower recruiting agencies.
“Remittances coming from such illegal workers has been not without a cost. The illegal workers, who generally enter carrying tourist visas and overstay, are not liked by the authorities of the countries where they are employed. This has created a sort of image problem for Bangladesh in the outside world.
“The issue of illegal Bangladeshi workers loudly indicates two factors – lack of employment opportunities at home and highhandedness of the unscrupulous manpower agents.
“The government, however, if it desires so, can, at least, deal with rogue manpower agents who lure unsuspecting unskilled workers and send them abroad with false visas or work permits. Such illegal workers do always remain vulnerable to police torture and many other dangers.
“Death stalks them while they try to enter countries in Europe or Southeast Asia illegally using sea or land routes. But the authorities here other than cancellation of a few licences have done nothing to mete out strong punishment to evil manpower agents. Exemplary punishment, it is felt, would help curb the sending of workers abroad with forged documents, to a large extent.”