With no jobs and no answers, thousands of workers are in limbo.
At least 13,000 workers from Bangladesh are allegedly struggling to re-enter Qatar, demanding action from the government to ensure their return to their workplace, according to a report by The Business Standard [TBS], a Bangladeshi news platform.
TBS stated that the workers cannot go back to their workplaces mainly due to the expiration of their Residency Permit [RP] as well as contentious entry policies that were imposed since the coronavirus pandemic struck Qatar.
“Under the circumstances, the migrant workers in the Middle Eastern country demand that the government take pragmatic steps to ensure their return to workplaces,” the TBS report said.
The Bangladesh-based outlet interviewed several workers stuck abroad, one of whom suggested an employer applied three times for his re-entry permit before it was rejected.
Because of this, he is now unable to enter the country and is on the verge of losing his job.
Similarly, workers across the board are struggling to make ends meet and have been forced into borrowing money and seeking loans.
“I find it quite difficult to make ends meet. Now, I want to return to Qatar through an Exceptional Entry Permit,” said Abdul Mannan, who worked at a restaurant in Qatar.
According to TBS, Qatar’s Minister of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs Yousuf Mohamed Al Othman said authorities would issue an “Exceptional Entry Permit” for Bangladeshi expats stuck abroad. However, no steps have yet been taken.
During a meeting held in October between the Qatari Minister and Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Qatar Md Jashim Uddin,the Bengali official provided a list of migrant workers that were awaiting re-entry.
After no progress was made, TBS reported that at least 500 expats formed a human chain to demand a government response to their plight.
“We have been demanding an Entry Permit for the last three months, but our demand falls on deaf ears,” the migrant workers told TBS. “We seek Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s intervention to expedite diplomatic efforts with the government of Qatar to extend our iqama (residency permit) limit.”
While Qatar has outperformed other countries in its coronavirus management measures, complaints have been raised over the contentious Exceptional Entry Permit (EEP), which many have blamed for their inability to return to their homes and jobs.
This has forced many to lose their jobs while also facing separation from their families, including parents who are unable to see their children.
In August, it was estimated that more than 250,000 residents were abroad and waiting to come back to Qatar, and while some have returned, many have yet to hear back from authorities.
Doha News has previously reached out for a statement from the government regarding the EEP, but got no response.