Malaysia announced reopening of its labour market for Bangladesh in December last year, after a suspension of three years over allegations of malpractices in the recruitment process and high recruitment costs.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed recently followed by the announcement.
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.
This syndicate of agencies allegedly swindled a huge amount of money from Bangladeshi workers in the name of recruitment during 2016-18.
Talking to Bangladesh Post, Asif Munier, former National Programme Officer of 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 negotiations 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 made in haste.
“If necessary, the two countries should review the documents again until they reach an agreement,” he said.
He added that the concerted efforts of government and non-governmental organizations are required to prevent the formation of syndicate.
Shommilito Somonnoy Front (SSF) of 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.
Shariful Hasan, head of Brac Migration Programme told Bangladesh Post that the government of Bangladesh has made it clear from the beginning that it does 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.