Bangladesh High Commission supports 1,687 nationals

Azlan Othman

The Bangladesh High Commission in Brunei Darussalam provided humanitarian support to 1,687 Bangladeshi immigrants amid the coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh media reported.

Of them, 687 received BND50 each while 600 received face masks, 200 received ration bags, 100 received handwash and 100 received gloves, according to the Bangladesh
High Commission.

Bangladesh Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment allocated Tk 25 lakh as humanitarian support for Bangladeshi workers in Brunei Darussalam. The business community also extended their support to poor Bangladeshis. The high commission said its officials recently visited 110 labour camps which accommodate 5,000 Bangladeshi workers.

Bangladeshi migrants who were cheated by brokers have been left in those labour camps, officials said.

Last month, the Bulletin reported that officers from the Bangladesh High Commission are visiting labour camps in Brunei to talk to fellow citizens employed in freelance jobs. They even provide aid to those who are unemployed and vulnerable, providing them with financial assistance, food items, hand sanitisers and face masks.

Officers at the Bangladesh High Commission are also checking their passports, identity cards and the company source. They said to date 400 Bangladeshi citizens in Brunei Darussalam are in need of assistance.

The high commission staff deals with them on a daily basis and some employers were found to be negligent of their workers’ well-being. The Bangladesh Government has taken action against a number of Bangladeshi brokers who were involved in recent visa rackets. They were deported to Bangladesh, with many being jailed.

Last year, officials from the Bangladesh High Commission in Brunei Darussalam uncovered what they described as a “surplus visa racket”, purportedly allowing Bangladeshi citizens to work in the Sultanate without a proper job status. The victims were found to be without jobs for as long as 10 months, after paying BND4,000 – BND6,000 to the brokers. About 25,000 Bangladeshis are currently working in different sectors in Brunei Darussalam and many are unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.