Why women workers being sent first? (The New Nation (Bangladesh))

The latest announcement of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister, Engineer Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, has fueled the controversy over the entire process of sending Bangladeshi housemaids to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Questions have been raised by concerned quarters whether it would be fair to send the women workers with a minimum salary of 800 Saudi Riyals each? What is the reason for being agreed with the proposal when KSA disagreed to spend 12001500 riyals for each worker? Was there no alternative?Not only that, questions have also been raised about the fate of women workers as why the government is sending housemaids to KSA without being ensured of their enough protection? There are widespread allegations that the domestic workers are most vulnerable in KSA.
According to media reports, workers from South and Southeast Asia are mainly subjected to physical and sexual abuse, nonpayment of wages, confinement and withholding of passports as a restriction on their movement. The Overseas Employment Minister addressing a press conference in Dhaka on Tuesday said: “Only housemaids will be sent first with a minimum salary of 800 Saudi Riyal per month with food, lodging, medicine and free plane fare. ”
Referring to the recent agreement signed with the Saudi government, he said, “Now the Bangladesh government will make arrangements for registration of housemaids. The process will start soon and the selection of workers will be held through lotteries. ”
Apart from Bangladesh, the Saudi Arabia is also a destination country for Pakistani, Indian, Afghan, Nigerian, Yemeni, Sudanese, Somali and Malian nationals. But the justice system of KSA also does not spare the female migrants. On June 18, 2011, the Saudi authority beheaded an Indonesian woman named Roiaiti Beth Sabotti Sarona after being convicted of murdering a Saudi woman.
In this backdrop, the governments of Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka have already stopped exporting women workers to KSA. Whereas, the minister further said: “There is no need for the registration [online] of names of jobseekers exclusively for Saudi Arabia as there has been no government decision as such. It is only the online registration process which is inoperative for the time being. ”
The KSA has agreed to recruit some 1, 20, 000 workers in a year [10, 000 workers every month in 12 categories] for household jobs from Bangladesh. The workers will get Tk.16, 800 per month. The employers will bear the full migration cost of the workers, including the plane fare and medical.
Besides they will enjoy free accommodation and foods there. On the other hand, the migrants will have to pay around Tk.15, 00020, 000 each for passport processing and other formalities here. The deal was struck after the visiting 19member Saudi team, led by Ahmed Bin Fahd Al Fuhaid, deputy minister for the kingdom’s Labor Ministry’s International Affairs, held official talks with Bangladeshi Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain.
After the signing deal, Fuhaid told newsmen that minimum wages for other 11 professions were yet to be fixed. Although, there is no exact figure of Bangladeshis living in Saudi Arabia, unofficially it is claimed that about 25 lakh Bangladeshis are in the kingdom. But Saudi Arabia had significantly reduced the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in recent days while the Iqama transfer was stopped since 2008.