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Tajik Health Care Workers To Work In Saudi Arabia

DUSHANBE -- Saudi Arabia's Trade Chamber and the Tajik Interior Ministry's Migration Service have signed an agreement allowing Tajik labor migrants to work in Saudi Arabia, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Tajik officials said the agreement signed on November 3 will allow some 1,000 Tajik physicians and nurses to work in Saudi Arabia next year.

Tajik Migration Service chief Safialloh Devonaev told RFE/RL that future Tajik labor migrants would take English and Arabic courses before traveling to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Employment Commission chief Saad Nahar al-Baddah said Tajik labor migrants must bring their spouses and children with them to Saudi Arabia.

He said first-time migrants will receive round-trip tickets and free hostel rooms and that the average monthly salary will be about $350, far more than the average wage for health-care workers in Tajikistan.

A 23-year-old Tajik man told RFE/RL that he would not marry just to be eligible to work to Saudi Arabia, though he admitted he would like to work there.

A Tajik woman told RFE/RL that she is also concerned about the family requirement because she said the majority of female migrant workers are widows.

Meanwhile, Dushanbe-based analyst Qosim Bekmuhammad said the newly signed agreement provides better conditions for Tajik labor migrants than agreements signed with Russia, adding that the deal should also regulate conditions for labor migrants' children.