Over 2.6m Bangladeshi men and women live and work in Saudi Arabia.

Whether they are employed in the Kingdom's growing technology industry or are constructing the city of the future in NEOM, they are supporting the profound transformation of our country.

We are incredibly grateful for the contribution made by Bangladeshi citizens, through their dedication, talents and ambition. I am also proud of the opportunities our country offers Bangladeshis who choose to work internationally - more Bangladeshis work in Saudi Arabia than in any other country, and the Kingdom was the top source of remittances to Bangladesh in 2022-2023, with $3.8 billion.

This relationship, underpinned by shared prosperity, highlights the importance of ongoing collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh on labor affairs.

Together we are responsible for ensuring the well-being, fair treatment, and professional progress of Bangladeshis currently employed in Saudi Arabia, as well as those who may take up new jobs in the future.

On behalf of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD) of Saudi Arabia, it is our privilege to be responsible for collaborating with labor-exporting countries such as Bangladesh, helping to build a safer, fairer, and more prosperous future for our workforces.

Saudi Arabia's participation at the Abu Dhabi Dialogue earlier this year provided a forum to share experiences and best practices with Asian nations as we seek to work together to build and deliver a labor market for the future. Importantly, the event recognized the mutual value labor migration brings to the economic development of all nations involved. The meeting of Saudi Minister for HRSD H.E. Ahmed Al Rajhi and Bangladesh's Minister of State for Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Mr. Shafiqur Chowdhury has fortified our nations' commitment to fair labor practices and transparent recruitment. It is a promising step towards safeguarding Bangladeshi workers' welfare andenriching our collaborative ties.

This event was just one in a series of regular meetings between the governments of our two nations. An important focus of the Ministry's discussions with Bangladesh in recent months has been strengthening the Professional Accreditation Initiative. Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh have already begun collaboration in this area, and we launched the Workers' Recruitment and Skill Verification Program in Bangladesh in February 2023. The program was initially focused on five professions: plumbers, electricians, welders, automotive electricians, and air conditioning technicians, but it has since expanded to include a wider range of roles.

The Skill Verification Program, which is free of charge for prospective employees and aims to recognize and promote skills in the workforce, has been received positively in Bangladesh. NGOs such as Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC) have commended it, noting its mutual benefit. This highlights the real-world benefits of collaboration between our two countries.

The Ministry has long championed international labor collaboration and market inclusivity. With the 2021 Labor Reform Initiative (LRI), Saudi Arabia entered a new chapter of labor rights, empowering expatriate workers with job mobility and reinforcing fair employment practices. This landmark move significantly uplifts worker rights and strengthens legal protections.

Ongoing labor reforms are enhancing work conditions, job security, and employee rights in the Kingdom. With stricter labor law enforcement, a new wage protection system, and upgraded safety regulations, these changes underscore Vision 2030's commitment to elevating living standards and driving positive shifts in the labor market. In advancing these reforms, the Kingdom looks beyond mere compliance; we are actively engaging with partners to further enrich the experiences of Bangladeshi workers in our nation.

It is a collaborative endeavour to forge a labor market that not only empowers but also honors every worker from Bangladesh with the respect and remuneration they deserve. This commitment transcends economic necessity-it embodies our mutual dedication to prosperity and a vision where progress is shared,and a collaborative spirit shapes a future that benefits all.

His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Abuthnain is the Vice Minister for Labor of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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