Bangladeshi workers sent back from airport in visa scam

The Bangladesh Consulate is investigating whether 83 migrants were the victims of malpractice by their agents.

DUBAI // The Bangladesh Consulate in Dubai is investigating whether 83 migrants sent home from Dubai International Airport after arriving without proper visa documents were the victims of malpractice by their agents. Mohammed Rais Hasan Sarower, the Bangladeshi Consul in Dubai, confirmed the men arrived on Aug 17 on a Gulf Air flight. Most of them were to be employed as construction workers. However, immigration officials refused them entry because of incorrect or invalid visa documents and the group were sent back to Bangladesh the same day on a Gulf Air flight.

It is understood the migrants were carrying photo-copies of their visas. "We have got some preliminary information in the case. I have requested more information and am waiting for a response from immigration officials," Mr Sarower said. Some of the group had travelled to the UAE before and were aware of the rules, he said. "This is probably a case of cheating by the agent, which is why they were all sent back.

"We suspect that they were carrying invalid visas and hence were rejected by immigration." Mr Sarower said there had been previous incidents where illiterate workers had been cheated by agents and sent to the UAE. "They are able to travel up to Dubai but when they get here they realise that they have been cheated. Many of them do not know what is happening and are sent back to Bangladesh." People travelling from Bangladesh to the UAE must produce their original visa on arrival.

"The original visas are usually delivered at the airport and collected by the passengers," Mr Sarower said.

Published: August 19, 2008 04:00 AM