The ticket seekers wait in front of the Saudia office at Hotel Sonargaon in Dhaka on 4 October 2020
The ticket seekers wait in front of the Saudia office at Hotel Sonargaon in Dhaka on 4 October 2020Sajid Hossain

Bangladeshi migrants, who are looking for tickets to return to Saudi Arabia, staged demonstration blocking roads again demanding tokens for tickets based on the expiry date of visas on Sunday.

The migrants took to the streets in front of the Sonargaon Hotel around 10:00 in the morning. Later, the ticket seekers left the road and entered the premises of Hotel Sonargaon, where there is an office of Saudia, formerly known as Saudi Airlines.

A large number of people were waiting there until filing of this report around 11:30am.

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The expatriate workers gathered near the office of Saudia at Hotel Sonargaon as it resumed giving tokens to sell tickets after a few days.

Around 10:00am, the workers demanded issuing tokens based on the expiry date of visas.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, additional deputy commissioner (Tejgaon division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Hafiz Al Faruq said, "a huge number of people gathered in front of Hotel Sonargaon. Somehow, we’ve kept the situation under control."

Sources said tokens would be given to those who bought return tickets of Saudia before returning from Saudi Arabia before the lockdown and would be able to buy tickets on the specific date.

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Saudia started giving tokens on 24 September. The airlines gave tickets to holders of token no. 3001-3300 on 1 October. It suddenly stopped giving tokens from 2 October.

Around 80,000 migrant workers got stranded after returning home on leave. Though the chance has been created to return to Saudi Arabia after seven months, an uncertainty arose because of lack of flights.

As a result, the workers took to the streets and demonstrated on the third week of September. After three days of demonstration, foreign minister Abdul Momen said the iqama (legal work permit) of Bangladeshi workers will remain valid for 24 more days and it would be increased, if required.

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He further said the Saudi government agreed to increase the validity of visas of the workers who want to return there.

The Saudi airlines started giving tickets on the next day.

Alongside the Saudia, Biman Bangladesh Airlines has also started issuing tickets at its Motijheel office in the capital today.