Once the Malaysian labour market is reopened for Bangladesh, employers will be able to hire Bangladeshi migrant workers through a platform of agencies there, Expatriates Welfare Minister Imran Ahmad has said.
The previous system of recruiting workers directly through Bangladeshi agencies will also remain, he said.
“They [employers] will have two options,” said the minister while speaking at a press conference at his ministry office yesterday.
The press conference was arranged to inform the media about the outcomes of the minister’s recent visit to the Southeast Asian country.
When the new system is implemented, the minister said, an employer will have to place a recruitment order to the platform known as MRA, and then the platform will contact a Bangladeshi agency.
Only “a certain number” of Bangladeshi agencies will be able to receive requirement orders either from the MRA or directly from the employers, he said.
A clause regarding MRA’s role has been added to the existing “agreement” between the two countries, said Salim Reza, secretary of the ministry.
The “agreement” will be finalised during a Joint Working Committee (JWC) meeting in Dhaka scheduled for November 24-25, he said, adding that the two countries had reached an understanding on several unresolved issues.
“We are hopeful Malaysia’s market for Bangladeshis will be reopened soon,” he added.
Malaysia suspended labour recruitment from Bangladesh on September 1 last year, alleging monopoly by a syndicate of 10 recruiting agents and high cost of migration.
Responding to a question, Minister Imran said he is not in favour of any “unethical syndicate”, rather he wants to make sure that the poor migrant workers are going overseas at a low cost and sending remittance to the country.
He said the ministry is working to cut the labour migration cost.
During his visit, the minister discussed with Malaysian home affairs minister Muhyiddin Yassin to regularise those undocumented Bangladeshi workers who went there after paying money to local agents.
“I urged the [Malaysian] home minister, if there is any scope…whether they can be absorbed or re-hired,” he added.
Although the Malaysian minister did not give any commitment, he “noted” the issue, said Imran, adding he would raise the issue again in JWC’s meeting in Dhaka.
To curb the malpractice in labour migration, we have so far “suspended” licenses of 164 errant recruiting agencies, he added.
On female migrant workers’ unexpected return to home and challenges in Saudi Arabia, he said his ministry has started to take action against travel agencies responsible for the current situation.
The ministry has also started a process under which migrant workers have to be registered with the Bangladesh mission in Saudi Arabia.
“Otherwise, we will not recognise them,” he said.
He also said a joint technical committee meeting between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia will be held in Riyadh this month to further discuss the issues related to labour migration.
The government is hopeful that it will be able to make unscrupulous Saudi employers accountable, he added.