National, Front Page

New hope of labour market

shouldn’t be in jeopardy due to syndication

Published : 24 Jan 2022 10:36 PM

A new hope has ushered with the announcement of reopening Malaysia’s labour market for Bangladesh followed by the signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries.

Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Saravanan on January 14 this year sent a letter to Imran Ahmed, Minister of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, putting emphasis on the involvement of main 25 Bangladeshi recruiting agencies and 10 sub agencies under each of the agencies.

A number of recruiting agencies are claiming that the letter indicates the formation of a syndicate. 

However, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA), in a recent press conference, alleged that a syndicate of 25 recruiting agencies is trying to get permission to send workers under the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bangladesh and Malaysia. 

They also criticised a provision in the MoU that allows Malaysia to select eligible Bangladeshi recruiters.

Another group of recruiting agencies also protested against the formation of the syndicate on Monday and demanded that the labor market of Malaysia should allow the recruitment of workers through all recruiting agencies.

Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Hamzah bin Zainudin is expected to arrive in Dhaka today (Tuesday) at the invitation of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad on a three-day visit to discuss issues of mutual interest with Bangladesh.

It is also being hoped that the relations between Bangladesh and Malaysia will reach new heights with the implementation of the MoU, in the days to come.

Malaysia is reopening its labor market that had remained suspended for three years for Bangladesh over allegations of malpractices in the recruitment process and high recruitment costs.

However, it is feared that a syndicate of agents is being formed yet again for labour recruitment to Malaysia which would create scope for labour exploitation and obstruct the revival of labor market in Malaysia. 

This syndicate of agencies allegedly swindled a huge amount of money from Bangladeshi workers in the name of recruitment during 2016-18.  

In response to the letter from Malaysia, Expatriates’ Welfare Minister Imran Ahmed sent another letter to the Malaysian Human Resources Minister on January 18, saying that Bangladesh is always in favour of transparent, fair and safe migration, according to the relevant charters of International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the country's Competition Act 2012. 

He clearly stated in the letter that opportunities should be given to all the valid licensed recruiting agencies of Bangladesh as mentioned in the MoU signed on December 19, 2021.

Shariful Hasan, head of Brac Migration Programme told Bangladesh Post that the government of Bangladesh has made it clear from the beginning that they do not want to send workers through any syndicate.

“It is the responsibility of the Malaysian government to ensure that no syndicate is formed as they will be choosing the recruiting agencies. The recruiting procedure of Bangladeshi workers of Malaysia has always been flawed since the beginning, including the G2G Plus agreement in 2016,” he said. 

He further said that the recruitment procedure should be such so that any Malaysian employer can recruit workers from Bangladesh through any recruiting agencies.  

He also urged the migrant workers of Bangladesh to remain careful so that they do not fall victim to any kind of fraud in terms of recruitment cost.

Talking to Bangladesh Post, Asif Munier, former National Programme Officer of International Organization for Migration (IOM) and a migration and refugee affairs specialist said that in order to prevent the repetition of the same incident due to which the Malaysian government closed the labour market for Bangladesh, the scope of negotiation should be ensured.

He said, “If the standard operating procedure states that Bangladeshi workers will be recruited by 25 main agencies which will be supported by around 200 sub-agents, the participation of those sub-agents should be ensured.” 

He further said that it is a Memorandum of Understanding and therefore, no decision should be taken in haste. 

“If necessary, the two countries should review the documents again until they reach an agreement,” he said. 

He also said that the concerted efforts of government and non-governmental organisations are required to prevent the formation of any syndicate.    

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