|Recruitment thru' states|
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Source: The Daily Star
Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur yesterday decided to go for state arrangements for recruitment of Bangladeshi workers by Malaysia, putting aside the long involvement of private manpower agencies and brokers in the process.
“One policy decision that we made is the new process of recruitment will be on a government-to-government basis,” Malaysian Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam told journalists in Dhaka yesterday.
Its objective is to avoid all the problems faced before and to ensure that the workers are not exploited by unscrupulous middlemen, he said following a meeting with Bangladesh Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain.
Subramaniam led a 10-member delegation from his country and Mosharraf led the Bangaldesh team at the meeting held at Probashi Kalyan Bhaban in the capital. The delegation arrived yesterday morning.
Referring to labour abuses and mismanagement during 2007-08, Mosharraf said they also agreed that migration cost of a jobseeker would not be more than his three months' wages.
He went on, “We agreed that the process will involve no middlemen. Because, whenever there are middlemen, the cost goes higher.”
At yesterday's meeting, a joint working committee was formed for finalising the memorandum of understanding (MoU) today, which will be approved by the Malaysian cabinet before its signing anytime soon. Then fresh recruitment of workers will start, he said.
Replying to a question, Mosharraf said, "We want to build a sound recruitment system. Then, gradually we will leave the recruitment issue to the private sector, but not now.”
Malaysia now has around four lakh Bangladeshi workers.
Subramaniam also called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The visit of the delegation led by him is considered crucial as Kuala Lumpur froze recruitment of workers from Bangladesh in early 2009 following malpractices in the recruitment process. And now it is set to hire several lakh workers for its manufacturing and plantation sectors in the next few years.
Against this backdrop, private recruiting agencies of both the countries and unauthorised brokers allegedly lobbied the authorities for allowing recruitment by them.
Earlier investigations had revealed that jobseekers were charged over Tk 2 lakh each for a job in Malaysia while the government-fixed rate was Tk 84,000 each. As recruiting more workers meant more money, manpower syndicates even managed recruitment of excessive workers, leaving them in troubles.
Mosharraf said the migration cost was so high that the workers could not recover the money even by working for three years. For that, many overstayed their visas and became irregular. Malaysia is now regularising them.
He mentioned that the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training has offices in 42 districts and expatriate desks in other districts. But the recruiting agencies do not have offices outside Dhaka.
Asked if Malaysia has abolished outsourcing system of labour recruitment, Subramaniam said they have already reduced the activities of outsourcing agents which were a major reason behind labour exploitation.
“We will gradually phase-out outsourcing agents. Policy-wise, in the long-term we will have no outsourcing agents,” he added.
The Malaysian delegation is scheduled to leave Dhaka tomorrow.
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