Dubai: Saudi Arabia has officially approved the recruitment and qualifications of Bangladeshi doctors and nurses, marking the first instance of medical professionals from the country being employed in the Kingdom.
Despite the presence of nearly three million Bangladeshi expatriates in Saudi Arabia, only a minimal number have been doctors, according to Bangladesh Medical Association.
The new development follows the 2022 agreement between the two countries to recruit medical professionals, culminating in the arrival of the first group of Bangladeshi healthcare workers in November 2023.
Essa Al Duhailan, Riyadh’s ambassador to Dhaka, explained the delay in hiring from Bangladesh was due to ensuring the candidates met the Kingdom’s stringent standards.
The initial batch consisted of around 60 clinicians, a number expected to rise as the recrutiment gains momentum. “It is just to encourage the market and see how it goes,” Al Duhailan said.
Efforts to recruit more Bangladeshi medical staff have been ongoing, with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health sending delegations to Bangladesh and planning more visits to recruit additional professionals. The imminent deployment of nursing staff to the Kingdom follows a request for over 150 qualified nurses.
Khairul Alam, Bangladesh’s Minister of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment, said his government will spare no effort to streamline the recruitment process and ensure appropriate placements for Bangladeshi nurses in either public or private healthcare facilities.
This development not only opens new opportunities for Bangladeshi medical professionals but also promises to enhance the quality of care available to Bangladeshi expatriates in Saudi Arabia. Presently, only 2 per cent of Bangladeshi workers in the Kingdom are in skilled professions. This initiative is expected to boost remittances and enhance Bangladesh’s reputation for exporting highly trained labour.
A comprehensive recruitment policy is underway, tapping into the vast pool of talent emerging from over 100 medical schools in Bangladesh.
“The more medical staffers we can send and the more we can upgrade their quality, the more it will create a win-win situation for both countries,” said Shariful Hasan, associate head of the migration program of BRAC (Building Resources Across Communitie), the largest development organisation based in Bangladesh.