The government is reviewing its policy to put in place a transparent and safe system enabling private recruiting agencies to send migrant workers to Malaysia.
A statement of the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment issued said yesterday the government was working on resuming manpower export to Malaysia in a fair and transparent way.
The statement said labour migration to one of the most important destinations for Bangladesh has remained stuck since 2008 following an embargo imposed by the Malaysian government on getting excess foreign workers.
According to the ministry, net manpower export to Malaysia and Saudi Arabia in 2007 and 2008 was higher than the demand of these two countries.
The ministry, however, said that a team from Malaysia would be visiting Dhaka next week to have an official meeting with the government on Tuesday to determine an effective way for hiring skilled workers from Bangladesh.
The statement said the government does not want to involve in manpower business and therefore, it would establish a transparent manpower export system to protect the interest of the people.
It said to ensure a proper and secure migration of overseas job seekers, the government in the past introduced demand-based manpower exports to Malaysia as a test case.
The government after meeting with the concerned authorities of different manpower importing countries understood that Bangladeshi workers are paying higher costs for getting overseas jobs. Also, in most cases, the workers failed to earn even the money they paid for the jobs within the contract periods.
In this backdrop, many workers resorted to work illegally to compensate their low income, which resulted in irking the authorities in many recruiting countries, the statement said. This discouraged the authorities in those countries to employ Bangladeshi people.
The ministry said the government had fixed a Tk 84,000 fee for sending people to Malaysia, which includes all cost and one-way airfare. But the agents realised exorbitant amounts from the workers, which was three to four times higher than the stipulated amount.
It said the ministry repeatedly requested Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) to enforce a reasonable fee realisation system and got a response after two years.
"Now the government is obtaining opinions from Bangladesh missions and embassies abroad for re-fixing the migration cost," the ministry said.
It said any debate or misunderstanding on this issue would only send a wrong signal to other countries and hinder the process of promoting manpower export.
Recently, Baira claimed that manpower exports declined and blamed the loss on wrong policies.
The surge in manpower export in the past two years was higher than that of 2006, leaving out the exceptional rate of out migration of workers in 2007 and 2008, the ministry said.
It said the government sought cooperation from all to help increase manpower exports.