Migrants call for diplomatic push to lift Kuwait travel ban | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 10, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 10, 2020

Bangladeshis Stuck at Home due to Covid-19

Migrants call for diplomatic push to lift Kuwait travel ban

Bangladeshi expatriates who came home from Kuwait before the Covid-19 travel ban yesterday called for the government to make diplomatic efforts to ensure that they can return to Kuwait at the earliest.

Otherwise, they fear that their visas could expire and several thousand migrants could lose their jobs and businesses back in Kuwait, as the Middle Eastern country is yet to lift its travel ban on Bangladesh and 30 other countries.

A group of some 50 such Bangladeshis yesterday submitted a memorandum to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment.

Kuwait on August 1 partially opened its international flights, which were suspended in March due to the pandemic. However, the ban continues for 31 countries -- including Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran and Nepal -- reported Arab News.

Sabur Khan, one of the campaigners, said he came to Bangladesh on December 4 on leave and was scheduled to return in late March, but by then the travel to Kuwait was suspended.

"The Kuwait government has a rule that a migrant on leave must return to Kuwait in six months. Due to the pandemic, Kuwait extended this timeframe to nine months," he told The Daily Star.

There are many returnees who have been staying in Bangladesh for seven to eight months. If they cannot return to Kuwait at the soonest, they will lose their jobs or businesses, he said.

"I have an electronics and electrical shop in Kuwait. I have invested a lot of money; if I can't return, I'll lose the business," Sabur said.

With no jobs at home for many months, he said, several thousand migrants are struggling. They will face grave consequences if their visas expire before Kuwait lifts travel restrictions.

Other countries -- including India, Pakistan and the Philippines -- have begun diplomatic efforts to lift the ban, he added.

"Bangladesh should also start a strong diplomatic move. This is our earnest request," said Sabur, one of the signatories to the memorandum. 

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