Foreign two claim abuse

TWO Bangladeshi nationals left their homes in Dhaka last year hoping to find decent work in Fiji.

This has turned sour when their contracts were terminated after they questioned the manner in which they were allegedly being mistreated by their employer — a Suva motor vehicle company.

According to documents from the Immigration Department given to this newspaper by the duo, their work permit would expire on June 19, this year.

They claimed they were recruited by the company’s director to work as general building foreman and multi-skilled and logistic and procurement executive.

Speaking in Hindi, one of the men claimed they were being mistreated ever since they started working for the company, at times allegedly assaulted by their employer and not paid their full salary.

“We were told to carry out general renovations on his house and once it was completed, they threw us out of the company,” he claimed.

“The company director made contact with some people in Bangladesh telling them he wanted labourers to work for his company, that’s how we came to Fiji.

“We spent close to $13,000 in travel expenses from our own pocket to come to Fiji; we came together on the same flight while another five Bangladeshis came the next day.”

The other man claimed their contract was terminated on April 12 after they completed the renovation works on two houses belonging to their employer.

Initially, he claimed, they were told that they would receive $170 a month for food allowances if they were working, but that was not the case when they started working.

According to their contracts, their classification of contract duration was long term.

Both their contracts stated they would be paid $1200 monthly at regular working hours of 48-hours per week.

The two were also eligible for $30 food allowances a week as per their contract.

The two also claimed the company had taken their passports since they arrived in the country and promised them it would be responsible for paying their return tickets to Bangladesh once their contracts expired.

In a letter dated July 10, 2018, from the Department of Immigration addressed to the company, the Immigration Department confirmed that the application for work permit for four Bangladesh nationals by the company had been approved for one year.

Meanwhile, police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro confirmed they were now investigating the matter on alleged assault by the employer on the two nationals.

“The suspects have been interviewed and the file will be forwarded to DPP for the independent legal advice,” she said.

When contacted yesterday, the company director told this newspaper the issue was currently handled by the company’s solicitor and that he wished not to make any comment on the matter.

Questions sent to the Immigration Department and Ministry of Employment on June 6, June 7 and yesterday via electronic mail remain unanswered.

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