Bangladesh to seek Libyan assistance | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 12, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 12, 2010

Worker Recruitment Process

Bangladesh to seek Libyan assistance

Bangladesh will seek Libyan assistance in disciplining the labour recruitment process and ensuring Bangladeshi workers' welfare in the oil-rich North African country, which requires around a million foreign workers by 2014.
“We shall ask the Libyan counterparts so that none can trade on visas and hike migration cost of workers,” said Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, who left for Libya leading a five-member delegation last night.
During the three-day visit, they are scheduled to meet Libyan human resources and interior ministers and the Bangladeshi workers and businessmen there.
Though Bangladesh's labour market shrunk by half during the global economic recession, Libya continued hiring Bangladeshi workers, which started early last year. Till date, Libya hired around 24,000 workers, and requires many more in the coming years.
But malpractices in Libya, like those in Malaysia, resulted in unemployment or underemployment of many workers. Some also were forced to return home, said officials in the expatriates' welfare ministry and recruiting agents.
Sources said the visit is important because the malpractices could be checked then through strengthening diplomatic relations and disciplining the recruitment process.
Mosharraf Hossain said the migration cost to go to Libya is over Tk 2 lakh. “If our workers pay that high cost, they cannot serve better, because then they will be trying to do extra jobs.”
“This is a matter of mutual interest, because they need better services and Bangladesh has the human resources. So, things should be dealt accordingly,” he told The Daily Star.
Khorshed Alam Chowdhury, director general of Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training and also a member of the delegation said they had reports that some Bangladeshi workers went to Libya illegally. These contributed to the troublesome situation for Bangladeshi workers, he noted.
“As Libya is a prospective market, we don't want to lose it as has been the case with Malaysia and want to intervene at the earliest possible time,” he said.
The main problem in Malaysia was surplus workers hired by the brokers. But once they arrived, they were not provided jobs or were forced to work without pay or very small pays or on confined for months.
All these irregularities eventually led to a ban by Malaysia on manpower hiring from Bangladesh in March last year, though it cited global recession as the reason.
“We want our mission in Tripoli to visit every work site before attesting the job approvals of any company, so that no extra worker is hired,” Khorshed Alam said.
If needed, the government would deploy more welfare officers there, he said.
Ghulam Mustafa, president of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies and a delegation member said, “We must ensure only the required number of workers with adequate skills go there. If we can do it, most of our problems will be solved.”
KAHM Mustafa, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on finance ministry, Awami League leader HBM Iqbal and BAIRA general secretary Mofizur Rahman are also accompanying the minister.

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