In a new move, the government has asked the manpower recruiting agencies to provide lists of their respective intermediaries to the manpower bureau within this month - to get these agents officially registered under the agencies they operate.
The agencies, which will fail to submit the lists of their respective agents by the deadline of March 31, will not get any services from the relevant departments in sending workers abroad, officials said.
In this regard, the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), as per directive of the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, issued a letter to the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) on Thursday.
The government has taken the move to check malpractices by a section of recruiters and intermediaries, as they cheat workers and charge the overseas job seekers high, the officials added.
Currently, there are more than 1,800 licensed recruiting agencies in the country.
But, as the migration experts put it, the industry is heavily dependent on intermediaries to send workers abroad; during this process, workers are cheated on many occasions and migration cost increases as a result.
Talking to the FE, Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, secretary at the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, said if the recruiting agencies did not provide the lists of their respective intermediaries within the deadline, the government would stop providing all services to them.
The ministry has taken the decision to bring manpower recruiters and intermediaries under the government regulation so that they become accountable to the authorities, he mentioned.
The middlemen involved in the manpower recruitment will be registered under their respective recruiting agencies they work for, while the BMET will act as the regulatory body, he added.
On the other hand, manpower recruiters have sought more time as they do not exactly know how the system will work.
Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, former secretary general of BAIRA, said they had agreed in principle about registration of the intermediaries at a previous meeting, organised by the expatriates' welfare ministry.
But they had not been notified about any updates from the ministry since then, he said.
Moreover, Shameem said, the recruiting agencies would not be able to hold any meeting to discuss this issue as BAIRA has no committee now.
"We need time until June this year to implement the decision as BAIRA election will be held in May," he mentioned.
Hailing the government move, migration experts said bringing the middlemen under the government regulation was a good decision as it would help curb fraudulence in this sector.
But the enforcement of rules is necessary to get a good result out of it, they said.
Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Programme (OKUP) Chairman Shakirul Islam said they had long been demanding that the government bring the middlemen or intermediaries under regulation.
So, it is a good move by the government, he said. But it has to be ensured that all the intermediaries are brought under the registration system, he opined.
"If all the agents are not brought under database, overseas job seekers will continue facing the harassment," observed OKUP chairman.
Over 13 million Bangladeshi workers went abroad since 1976.
Of them, 80 per cent went to Middle Eastern countries, according to BMET statistics.