Sending workers to Greece: No recruitment even 5 months after the agreement

More than five months have passed since Bangladesh and Greece signed a memorandum of understanding on sending workers to the European country, but the new recruitment has yet to start.

Greece had also agreed to regularize undocumented Bangladeshi migrant workers, but the process in this regard has not started either.

Addressing an event in Dhaka on July 22, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Greece would regularize some 15,000 undocumented Bangladeshis.

Under the memorandum of understanding, Bangladesh can also send some 4,000 workers to Greece every year, he added.

According to an estimate by the Bangladesh Embassy in Athens, at least 28,000 Bangladeshis currently live in the European country. Among them, at least 15,000 are undocumented.

Asked about the delay, Bishwagith Kumer Paul, First Secretary (Labour Social Wing) at the Bangladesh Embassy, ​​recently said that the Greek authorities were awaiting the approval of their parliament for the implementation of the MoU, signed in Dhaka on February 9.

The Greek parliament ratified the agreement on July 22, reads a notice posted on the mission’s Facebook page in Bangladesh on Thursday.

Implementation of the MoU will ensure safe migration of Bangladeshi workers and reduce the influence of human traffickers, the report says.

Greek authorities, the notice reads, are expected to soon announce details of the regularization of undocumented Bangladeshi workers.

He said details on the new recruitment and migration costs would be finalized at a later date. The decision on whether the hiring would be under a government-to-government or government-to-private sector agreement would also be made later.

The Memorandum of Understanding, the first of its kind between Bangladesh and a European Union country, opens a new horizon for the regular and orderly migration of Bangladeshi workers to Europe.

European countries, especially EU member states, are sought-after destinations for many young Bangladeshis, mainly due to their strong economic conditions.

To achieve their dream, many Bangladeshis take risky illegal migration routes, including the Mediterranean Sea, after paying huge sums to human traffickers.

Greece and Bangladesh see the signing of the MoU as an important step towards reducing illegal migration and trafficking of Bangladeshis.

After the signing of the agreement, the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare of Bangladesh said in a press release that the Bangladeshi workers would be hired under the “seasonal” category for the agricultural sector. The number of sectors will be increased later depending on demand and following discussions between the two countries.

Workers will have to return home when their work permit expires. They will be able to migrate in search of employment.

When applying for a job, Bangladeshi job seekers will be required to present valid travel documents, employment contracts and pay the necessary fees.

Labor welfare chief Bishwagith said Greece, like other EU countries, had recently tightened border security to reduce illegal entries.

During the signing of the MoU in Dhaka in February, Greece’s Minister of Migration and Asylum, Panagiotis A Mitarachi, expressed optimism that the new agreement would effectively support legal migration.

“When I sit on the Council of the European Union with other colleagues of mine…there has been a common stance in recent years that we would like to support legal migration.

“So that’s what we agreed today [February 9],” He said.