Workers in Maldives: 47pc don’t get promised wages
Around 47 percent Bangladeshi migrant workers in the Maldives do not receive the wages promised to them, according to a recent study.
The study, conducted by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), said on average, a worker earns Tk 35,147 per month there.
It also said documented Bangladeshi workers in the Maldives earn an average monthly income of Tk 37,066, while undocumented ones Tk 25,650.
The study, titled "Migration Dynamics of Bangladesh and the Maldives Corridor," was commissioned by The Asia Foundation, and surveyed 120 current and 250 returnee migrants.
It said 33 percent Bangladeshis in the Maldives work in hotels and resorts, 25 percent in construction, seven percent as day labourers, and two percent each in domestic work and the fisheries sector. The remaining 31 percent work in various other sectors.
While revealing the data at an event held at a city hotel, RMMRU Executive Director Prof CR Abrar emphasised that around 90 percent of the respondents considered the Maldives as their preferred destination for work. He called for both governments to play a role in ensuring the regular and orderly migration of Bangladeshi workers and a better future for them.
The study said Bangladeshi migrant workers spend an average of Tk 205,997 to migrate to the Maldives. In 59 percent cases, migration facilitation is done through sub-agents or intermediaries.
They work an average of 11 to 12 hours a day, six days a week, with 64 percent of them being compensated for overtime work. The average last monthly income of returnee migrants was found to be Tk 22,586.
Current migrant workers remitted an average of Tk 297,667 over the previous 12 months, while returnee migrants remitted Tk 218,477 during the same period. Documented migrants remitted an average of Tk 312,600, while undocumented migrants remitted Tk 223,000.
Meanwhile, undocumented workers spend 35 percent of their earnings on accommodation, compared to 20 percent for documented workers.
Around 38 percent respondents reported that their employers retained their passports. Discrimination at the workplace was reported by 45 percent of documented and 52 percent of undocumented workers. Additionally, 18 percent of respondents faced physical or verbal abuse at some point, and 16 percent experienced challenges in accessing medical services.
Meanwhile, 74 percent of respondents were able to secure necessary services from the Bangladesh High Commission in Male.
Referring to an ongoing embargo by Maldives on hiring unskilled workers from Bangladesh, Shahidul Alam, director general of Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, said foreign ministry needs to take step in this regard.
Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary, president of Bangladesh Parliamentarians' Caucus on Migration and Development, said step should be taken so that undocumented migrant workers can remit money home without hassle through formal channels.