Expatriates' welfare minister trashes TIB graft report
Terming Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) report on the irregularities and corruption in Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment “false”, Minister Nurul Islam has rejected the findings.
“TIB published the report to tarnish the image of the ministry,” Nurul Islam told journalists during a views-exchange meeting at the ministry in Dhaka today.
In its report released on March 9, TIB said around 90 percent of five lakh Bangladeshi male workers had to pay two to three times the usual migration cost last year to obtain work visas for seven countries including five in the Middle East.
They also paid bribes at different stages at the ministry and the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) for visa approval to go to the destination countries.
The minister was briefing members of Reporters for Bangladeshi Migrants (RBM) at Probashi Kalyan Bhaban in the morning.
On allegations of a syndicate operating in the migration sector, the minister said, “People, who didn’t get any favour from me, formed a syndicate in Malaysia.”
Shamsun Nahar, secretary of the ministry who was present at the programme, claimed that migrating workers do not face any kind of harassment at the expatriates' welfare ministry.
TIB defends its findings
While reacting on the minister’s rejection of the report, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman told The Daily Star over phone, “We hope that the ministry will consider our findings for sake of the sector and country.”
TIB has finalised the report on the basis of information and verified the information before the publication, Dr Iftekharuzzaman added.
1,081 licensed recruiting agencies in operation
G2G Plus was undertaken by Malaysia and Bangladesh after the previous state-level labour hiring arrangement, G2G, signed in late 2012, appeared less effective.
Currently, 1,081 licensed recruiting agencies are operating in the country to send workers in foreign countries, Secretary Shamsun Nahar said.
Number of licensed recruiting agencies will be increased if demand goes high, she added while talking about the labour market in the country.
Malaysian authorities selected 10 recruiting agencies from a list sent by Bangladesh government, she said.
The first batch of 98 workers was sent to the Southeast Asian country last Friday under new G2G Plus system, she added.
The present government previously sent 10,000 workers under old government-to-government (G2G) system in low cost and without any allegations of involvement of brokers, visa trading and other harassments including issuance of passport and immigration, the secretary claimed.
But later, recruiting agencies in Bangladesh and Malaysia created obstructions to the old G2G system.
Selim Reza, director general of BMET, and Mohsin Chowdhury, joint secretary of the ministry, were present among others at the briefing.