The Greek labour market is going to open for Bangladeshi workers soon as both countries sign a letter of interest on safe migration to the Mediterranean country.
The letter was signed on Monday after a meeting between Bangladesh Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed and Greek Minister for Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarachi at Athens, read a press release of the foreign ministry.
The proposed memorandum of understanding (MoU) would be finalised by next January and it will be signed during his visit to Dhaka in February, the Greek Minister hoped.
The ministers hoped that upon signing the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on "Employment of Bangladeshi Workers in Greece" between the two countries, it will open new opportunities for Bangladeshi workers in numerous labour-intensive sectors in Greece. With this, workers can move to Greece safely at a low cost.
At the meeting, the ministers discussed opening up the Greek labour market for Bangladeshi workers and preventing human trafficking by facilitating legal immigration.
They said if the workers were given legal access to Greece, human trafficking can be stopped to a larger extent.
"The Greek government amended its law on foreign workers in September this year to issue five-year visas to meet the huge demand for migrant workers in Greece's agriculture, tourism, ready-made garment and other sectors. With this, employment opportunities have been created for migrant workers there," read the release.
Around 80,000 Bangladeshi expatriates living in Greece, according to an unofficial estimate.
Many of them are staying there illegally. Some 30,000 Bangladeshis are primarily engaged in the agriculture, hospitality and RMG sectors in Greece.
Sheikh Muhammad Refat Ali, deputy secretary (employment), expatriate welfare and overseas employment ministry, told TBS, "If the MoU is signed between Greece and Bangladesh, the recruitment of workers thru formal channels will start. Still, there is no agreement on hiring workers between both countries."
Earlier in the day, expatriate minister Imran Ahmed addressed the concluding ceremony of a basic training program on cooking for expatriate Bangladeshis and handed over certificates to the successful.
Bangladesh mission in Greece is providing skills development training to Bangladeshis with a Greek training institute, helping them get better jobs there.
Later, the minister met with the Greek Minister for Citizen Protection (Interior) Panagiotis Theodorikakos in his office.
During the meeting, the two ministers discussed issues related to the interests of the two countries, including the security of expatriate Bangladeshis, timely immunisation, and legalisation.
Among others, Expatriate Welfare Ministry Secretary Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, Bangladesh Ambassador to Greece Ashud Ahmed were present in the meeting.
The minister is visiting Greece to oversee the progress of works for setting up a school named "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Centennial School" in the Mujib Borsho.
The people concerned think the school will play a significant role in spreading Bangabandhu's ideologies, Bangladesh's history, heritage and culture, mother language in Greece.