Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Mauritius has withdrawn its decision to deport Bangladeshi workers after December 31 this year, a foreign ministry announcement said in Dhaka on Tuesday.

The assurance came when a Bangladesh delegation led by Foreign Minister Dipu Moni met the authorities of Mauritius, the first African nation that recognized the independence of Bangladesh.

The Mauritius government in July this year announced that it would not renew the job contracts of 6,000 Bangladeshi male workers after 31 December this year, saying their economy was hit by the global economic recession.

The foreign minister urged the Mauritian government to extend work permits to Bangladeshi male workers beyond this December and facilitate fresh recruitment during her visit to the country on December 21.

She visited Mauritius at the invitation of her counterpart, Arvin Boolell, the announcement said, adding that this was the first-ever high-level trip to the island from Bangladesh since the independence of the country.

During the meeting with Minister for Labor, Industrial Relations and Employment Jean Francois Chaumiere, Dipu Moni raised the issue of various problems facing the Bangladeshi workers as well as their prospect in Mauritius.

“After a threadbare discussion Jean Francois Chaumiere declared withdrawal of the government’s earlier decision to deport the workers,” the foreign ministry said, adding that the Mauritian labor minister also expressed his satisfaction over praiseworthy contribution of the Bangladeshi workers.

The Mauritian government showed their keen interest in recruiting skilled doctors, engineers and architects from Bangladesh.

Dipu Moni welcomed the retraction move and mentioned that Bangladesh is ready to provide manpower in accordance with the requirements of Mauritius, particularly for garment, tourism and fish-processing industries.

During her meeting with her Mauritian counterpart, Bangladesh foreign minister stressed exploring new areas of cooperation in the fields of tourism, commerce, trade and investment.

They also decided that Joint Working Groups (JWG) on various prospective sectors of cooperation will soon be formed between the two countries to implement the agreements, the announcement added.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-23December09-12:25 pm (BST)