After Bulgaria, Romania has opened its doors for Bangladeshi skilled workforce, widening scopes for jobs in farm, construction and service sectors in Eastern Europe.
Romania decided to recruit around 40,000 foreign workers including Bangladeshis, according to a report published in Romanian media. The European country has already opened its consular office in Dhaka to ease the visa process, foreign ministry official said. Immigration fee has been set at Tk1,65,000 each.
The consular mission of Romania in Bangladesh granted work visas to 5,400 Bangladeshi citizens between April and July.
Earlier in February this year, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told journalists that Romania is sending a six-member consular team to Dhaka for three months to issue about 5,000 visas, including 3,400 pending visas.
Momen said around 1,000 workers have already gone to Romania, adding that Romania is in need of construction workers, electricians, household helpers, and workers in manufacturing units, besides doctors and nurses.
Bulgaria, another country in southeastern Europe, is hiring skilled ready-made garment workers from Bangladesh.
In a further development, Greece has become the first EU country to have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh to recruit workers.
All the visa holders will go to Romania under the "employment" category.
The monthly wages for workers would start from $615 to $1,400, depending on their skills and qualifications.
"Earlier Bangladeshis had to go to India to get Romanian visas. With the efforts of our government, Romania opened a temporary consular office in Dhaka, and our workers are benefiting from it," Md Shahidul Alam, director general of the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), told The Business Standard (TBS).
More than 10,000 applications for work-related employment visas were submitted to Romania in the first three months of this year by foreign nationals, mostly from Asian countries, reports Romania-insider.com.
To deal with the high number of applicants, the Romanian government decided to make it easy to obtain visas by opening temporary diplomatic missions.
The Balkan state is preparing similar missions in Nepal, and the Romanian Embassy in New Delhi, India, will grant more work visas.
Some 161 Bangladeshis lived in Romania till 2020, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
However, the organisation said many Bangladeshis frequently use illegal routes to reach various European countries and at least 21 Bangladeshis reached Romania illegally in 2020.
In 2020, the expatriate welfare and overseas employment ministry set the migration cost for Romania-bound workers through government arrangement at Tk1,65,000 each. The cost charged by private recruiters is no less than Tk10-Tk12 lakh per person.
Following bilateral consultation between the ministers for foreign affairs of the two countries in October 2021, Romania agreed to open a temporary consular office in Dhaka.
Earlier in 1975, Bangladesh opened its first mission in Romania but it was shut down in 1995, while Romania closed its mission in Bangladesh in 2000. Bangladesh has reopened its embassy recently.