S'pore offers job to 45,000 Bangladeshis
Singapore has proposed hiring 45,000 female domestic workers from Bangladesh on a pay higher than in the Middle Eastern countries.
Singapore is home to around two lakh Bangladeshi workers, but this is the first time it wants to hire female ones.
"Singapore needs 1.75 lakh female domestic workers. They would like to take 25 percent of them from Bangladesh provided we properly trained the jobseekers," said Nurul Islam, director of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET).
A four-member delegation of Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS) made the proposal to Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain during its August 17 to 20 visit to Dhaka.
Led by its president Shirley Ng, the delegation also met BMET officials and leaders of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) to discuss the proposal.
The Southeast Asian country is interested to recruit workers from Bangladesh as the Filipinos and Indonesians, who traditionally work as domestic workers in Singapore, are now gradually shifting to the European countries and demanding higher pays, the BMET director said on Tuesday.
They will draw a monthly salary equivalent to Tk 16,000, Islam said, adding that the legal system in Singapore is quite good, and that there is lesser possibility of exploitation.
As many as 60,000 Bangladeshi female domestic workers work abroad, mainly in the Middle East, and earn a monthly salary of Tk 10,000-12,000 on an average.
However, to get the job in Singapore workers must obtain education at least up to grade VIII with general English language skills. They would also have to take a test in Singapore, the delegation said.
"We said it would be better if the tests are conducted in Bangladesh, because if anyone fails the test, she has to return," said an official of the expatriates' welfare ministry.
Nurul Islam said it would be even better for the workers to have education up to SSC level.
Asked if the Bangladeshi women having SSC-level education would like to work as domestic workers for socio-cultural reasons, Nurul Islam said it is not a problem at all. “There are many women having education of this level interested to go abroad,” he noted.
The government wants that Bangladesh Overseas Employment Services Limited (BOESL), the state-owned recruiting agency, initially arrange the jobs considering that private agencies may indulge in irregularities.
Baira General Secretary Ali Haider Chowdhury said the proposal Singapore made is good. He requested the delegation to discuss the matter in detail with the government, as the government itself wants to handle the process.
A Baira member, however, said the AEAS delegation was more interested to hire the jobseekers through private arrangements.
Abdul Alim, who processes jobs for female workers, said this would be a lift in the immigration of Bangladesh's female workers, because until now Bangladeshi women mostly go to the Middle Eastern countries.