(MENAFN - Arab News) Under amnesty, more than 160,000 Bangladesh expatriates have obtained their documents processed at their country's missions in Riyadh and Jeddah, a senior diplomat from the Bangladesh Embassy told Arab News here yesterday. "To beat the deadline under the ongoing amnesty scheme, our embassy in Riyadh and its consulate in Jeddah work round the clock to help our countrymen to resolve their problems," the official said, adding that the documents processed included issuance of new passport, renewal of passports, out passes and 20,000 travel permits.
Due to the large number of expatriates seeking consular assistance from the embassy, the official said that the mission had rented two "Isteraha" at Exit 18 on the Al-Kharj road.
A large contingent of officers from Dhaka have been seconded for services to assist the missions' officials in Riyadh and Jeddah to complete their task in time.
The mission has also organized consular services in Jubail, Al-Ahsa, Dammam, Al Jouf, Saqaka and Al-Qassim.
The Jeddah consulate, which has processed 83,000 applicants, has also offered consular services in Khamis Mushayt, Jazan, Najran, Tabuk and Yanbu. Similar services have been arranged in Tabuk (again), Al -Baha and Madinah.
The influx of large crowd under the amnesty scheme is largely due to the timely warning given by the authorities about the penalty of SR 100,000 and the jail term, which will be imposed on the illegal workers following the amnesty period.
With the declaration of the amnesty, the ministry of labor summoned all the foreign ambassadors based in the capital and briefed them on the measures taken by the government in the implementation of the Nitaqat program.
On a request made by the Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni , the Kingdom lifted the ban on the transfer of sponsorship among Bangladesh workers.
There are some 1.2 million Bangladesh workers deployed in all parts of the Kingdom.
He said that the most of the sponsorship transfers were effected smoothly through the electronic system. However, he lamented that a few sponsors are demanding heavy fees for the transfer. He pointed out that these poor workers cannot afford to pay large sums of monies to the sponsors.
He also advised the workers who have the got final exit not to rush to the airport for departure immediately since it takes at least two weeks for the system to register the process because of the large number of expatriates, who are being processed under the amnesty scheme.