Saudi Arabia has assured Bangladesh of taking steps to ensure the protection of women migrant workers at their workplaces, Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment secretary Salim Reza said on Monday.
The assurance came at a Joint Technical Committee (JTC) meeting between the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment and the Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development held in Riyadh on November 27.
Bangladesh Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Golam Moshi, among others, attended the meeting.
At the meeting, both the countries have agreed to improve services to women workers, Mr Reza said at a press conference in the city.
The two sides also decided to preserve necessary information, including female workers' addresses and their arrival dates, full contacts of Bangladeshi and Saudi recruiting agencies and updated information of recruiters, in the 'MUSANED' system, a digital platform, he said.
The Saudi authorities concerned are also considering setting up an 'Approval Window' under MUSANED system of Bangladesh Embassy in Saudi Arabia, he added.
At the meeting, the two sides agreed that the recruiting agencies will look after the condition of women workers until their job contacts expire. Currently, recruiters take the responsibility for women workers for only three months.
Mr Reza said the recruiting agencies would now arrange residential and other facilities for the workers awaiting repatriation.
The two countries have also agreed not to hand over runaway migrants to the employers again. Rather, they would be handed over to the Bangladesh or Saudi authorities concerned.
Mr Reza said the agencies concerned will now inform the Bangladesh embassy and the Saudi labour ministry about when the working period of female workers end.
At the meeting, they also discussed the issue of insurance coverage for all workers in Saudi Arabia, he added.
The issue of signing a general agreement between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh on manpower recruitment also came up for discussion at the meeting, he said.
Some 0.87 million Bangladeshi women workers have gone abroad with jobs since 1991. More than 15 per cent of them went to Saudi Arabia.
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