Expats whose visas and iqamas will expire within a few days are concerned about getting their tickets on time, as tickets are currently being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis
Stranded Saudi returnees have demanded that their return tickets be distributed according to the expiry dates of their visas and iqamas (work permits).
Saudi Arabian Airlines is currently distributing tickets among the migrant returnees – who bought return tickets from the airlines but could not fly back to their workplaces in Saudi Arabia – following the serial numbers of tokens.
However, since tokens are being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, many returnee migrants whose visas and iqamas will expire within a few days are concerned about getting their tickets on time.
Therefore, they have demanded that the airline company distribute tickets first to those whose visas will expire first.
Md Zaman, a Saudi returnee from Brahmanbaria who is yet to get his ticket, told The Business Standard, "Return flights can be ensured to all Saudi returnees only when the airlines distribute tickets following the visa expiry dates."
"The validity of my visa expired on September 30. I have extended the validity of my visa through my employer and am now waiting for a ticket," he added.
However, some of the stranded Saudi returnees whose reentry visas have expired claimed that they could not manage to get the required documents from their employers to extend the validity of their visas.
The airline will start issuing tokens again on Sunday. However, the returnee migrants are not yet informed about how tokens will be issued this time.
Meanwhile, Biman Bangladesh Airlines has been reissuing tickets according to the dates of return tickets.
Biman is currently issuing tickets to returnee Saudi migrants with return tickets dated March 16 to April 8.
However, the passengers of the national flag carrier also demanded that tickets be distributed following the expiry dates of visas and iqamas.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said 20 additional flights will be operated to Saudi Arabia from October 1. Saudi Airlines and Biman will operate 10 flights each.
Over one lakh Bangladeshi migrants who came back on holiday have been stranded in the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies said around 80% of them work in Saudi Arabia.
According to the Dhaka airport's data, only 3,318 workers have reached Saudi Arabia till Wednesday since flights reopened on September 23.