Expatriates’ Welfare Minister Imran Ahmad yesterday said he will welcome Malaysia’s proposal on sending migrant workers to the Southeast Asian country under a “zero-cost” migration policy.
“Zero-cost migration can be put in place. However, they have to clarify what they mean by ‘zero-cost’,” he told journalists at his ministry office.
He stressed chalking a mechanism for “zero-cost” migration.
“No one will be happier than I if a mechanism of zero-cost migration is being set,” he said, adding that his mandate at the ministry is to reduce workers’ expenditure and increase employment opportunities for them.
A Malaysian delegate will visit Bangladesh at the end of this month, as a Joint Working Group meeting between the two countries over reopening Malaysia’s labour market for Bangladeshi workers is scheduled to take place on February 24 in Dhaka, said the minister.
Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran on January 15 said they would soon finalise a zero-cost labour recruitment deal with Bangladesh.
“I’m sending the Malaysia-Bangladesh Joint Working Group to Dhaka, Bangladesh, soon to iron out the remaining issues on the zero-cost recruitment agreement,” Kulasegaran told Malaysian media.
Minister Imran Ahmad said now everyone including the United Nations and ILO are putting focus on cost of migration and Bangladesh has also been working to reduce migration cost for the workers.
The minister said dates over the JWG meeting were deferred couple of times in September and November last year, mainly because of disagreement from the Malaysian counterparts.
Responding to a query, he said he will visit the United Arab Emirates this week where talks over reopening the country’s labour market for Bangladeshi workers can take place.
Meanwhile, following the recently-held Joint Technical Committee meeting between Bangladesh and Qatar in Doha, the ministry secretary Salim Reza yesterday said the Gulf country had reassured that they would continue to hire Bangladeshi workers.
Salim, who headed the Bangladesh delegation at the meeting, said Qatar will hire about 1,500 skilled drivers from Bangladesh ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
They have demands for workers in service, hospitality, security and agriculture sectors, he said.
He also said Qatar had stopped approving employers’ demands for Bangladeshi workers few months back.
Following request from the Bangladesh delegation at the meeting, the Gulf country resumed approving recruitment of Bangladesh workers, he added.