Migrant rights activists, middlemen and recruiting agents on Wednesday called upon the government to bring the middlemen or sub-agents under legal frameworks by amending the Overseas Employment and Migrants Act 2013.
They made their appeal at ‘Dialogue for Redressing and Defining the Role of Middlemen/Sub Agents for Ethical and Fair Recruitment of Migrant Workers’, organized by WARBE Development Foundation.
The British Council’s PROKAS programme extended cooperation in organizing the dialogue at the city’s CIRDAM auditorium.
Member of the Parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development Roksana Yasmin Suti MP speaking as chief guest said if necessary a new law could be enacted to help ensure a regular migration.
‘If we get specific proposals from rights activists, I will present those at the parliament,’ she assured.
Sub-agent Mohammad Atikuzzaman hailed from Savar said that he along with other brokers demanded recognition of jobs as they were working for the country.
‘We want identity and rights to form an organization,’ he said.
Another broker Nazma Akter hailed from Savan said that people called her dalal in the locality as she moved from door to door to look for aspirant migrant workers to send abroad.
‘By sending one worker, I get Tk 20,000 from recruiting agency,’ she said, adding that she sought her respectful identity from recruiting agency and government authorities.
Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies secretary general Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman said that middlemen or sub agents were not recognized by Overseas Employment and Migrants Act 2013.
‘No recruiting agency can provide them identity cards unless they get legal recognition,’ he said.
Noman said all stakeholders from both the job destination and sending countries should work together with honesty to make sure a fair and safe migration.
WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque said BAIRA seemed to be supportive to the recognition of the middlemen.
The government should take efforts to bring the middlemen under the legal framework, he said.
Rights activists said that no outbound worker could go abroad with the government-fixed migration cost as recruiters were violating the rules.
Although the government has fixed Tk 165,000 for Saudi bound workers, but the workers were forced to spend a high amount of money. Female workers were being charged up to Tk 120,000 by the recruiting agencies to go abroad, they said.
Sk Rumana, secretary general of Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association said that manpower recruiters charged Tk 120,000 to Tk 80,000 from outbound women workers.
Nazmul Ahsan, chairman of Bangladesh Ovibashi Adhikar Forum said middlemen were unaware about the official charges for outbound workers.
‘No male worker is going overseas with the government fixed rate of migration cost,’ he said.