Reducing migration costs remain as a big challenge for Bangladesh though the Malaysian government decided to postpone hiring migrant workers from Bangladesh under the government to government plus recruitment system, controlled by a syndicate of 10 recruiting agencies in Bangladesh.
The Malaysian ban on the G2G plus system would come into effect from September 1 and then new system would be introduced to hire the workers from Bangladesh, said officials concerned.
Apart from lowering cost of migration, maintaining healthy competition among private recruiters could be another challenge for Bangladesh as the Malaysia’s new government of prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad decided to reopen the process of hiring workers to all recruiting agencies by suspending the cartel of 10 agencies.
Migration experts suggested taking effective steps at home to check illegal practice of visa trading to keep the migration cost lower.
They stressed the need for initiating careful recruitment process to make the important labour market sustainable to Bangladeshi workers.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia Md Shahidul Islam said that Bangladesh would soon have meeting with the Malaysian government to discuss on how to introduce new recruitment system.
‘As the Malaysian government allowed all recruiting agencies of Bangladesh for recruiting workers, so a strong mechanism would have to be developed to ensure healthy competition among them,’ he said.
Migrant rights campaigner and WARBE Development Foundation Chairman Syed Saiful Haque said that the migration cost of the Malaysia bound workers remained as a concerning matter and it should not be more than the workers’ two month wage.
‘Our government must take effective measures to keep migration cost lower as Tk 40,000 which was earlier set for the government to government mechanism,’ he said.
Responding to the Mahathir government’s initiative, Saiful said that a high profile Bangladesh team led by Prime Minister or Expatriate Welfare minister should immediately visit Malaysia to fix modalities of recruitment of workers from Bangladesh at lower migration cost.
Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program chairman Shakirul Islam observed that it was the opportunity for the Bangladesh government to take immediate actions to ensure fair, ethical and responsible recruitment system.
‘The government should ensure that the potential migrant workers register their name with appropriate skills and other necessary information in the BMET database. Then the selection of workers must be done from that database by providing access to the authorised recruiting agents against the demands they submit to the BMET and the ministry,’ he said.
Shakirul said that the government must pay the migration cost to the recruiting agents on behalf of the migrants as an investment for earning more remittances for the development of the country.
‘The government paid migration will reduce migration cost as well as irregularities in the recruitment system,’ he said.
Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association director Sumaiya Islam said that Bangladesh government should allow sending workers to Malaysia after making proper analysis on whether there was actual demand of workers there or not.
Otherwise, poor migrant workers would face cheating, she said, adding that Malaysian trade union and Bar council were telling that there were surplus of workers in Malaysia.
According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, over seven lakh Bangladeshi workers were currently working in Malaysia.