UAE denies banning visas for Bangladeshi workers

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The UAE Ministry of Interior has denied imposing a ban on issuing visas to workers from Bangladesh following reports in local media.

Assistant Undersecretary for Naturalisation and Residency, and Ports Affairs at the ministry, Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali said visas are regularly issued to all nationalities, subject to the demand for workforce in the market.

However, he pointed out that there are certain measures undertaken by the government to strike a demographic balance among the three largest communities of workers in the UAE: Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

The statement follows complaints received by the Bangladeshi Embassy in Abu Dhabi from its nationals who said they had not been granted new visas to enter the UAE.

The president of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA), Shahjalal Majumdar told AFP that “since last week we haven’t had any working visas issued from the UAE.”

The UAE has emerged as the largest recruiter of Bangladeshi labourers in recent years, accounting for about 50% of all overseas employment opportunities.

Citing government figures, the news service said the number of Bangladeshi workers hired in the UAE in 2009 reached 258,348, compared with only 14,666 Bangladeshis hired in Saudi Arabia.

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