Workers still pay three times more than official rates for jobs abroad  

| Updated: October 22, 2017 13:34:14

Photo collected from internet showing Bangladeshis squatting in Malaysia has been used for representational purpose only Photo collected from internet showing Bangladeshis squatting in Malaysia has been used for representational purpose only


The country's outbound workers are forced to pay three times more than the officially-fixed migration rates for securing jobs abroad due to an active nexus between middlemen and a section of recruiting agencies, officials and insiders have said.


The dishonest recruiters are continuing their malpractices following improper initiatives by the authorities concerned to implement the official rates of migration cost, they also said.


Talking to the FE, a large number of workers said they spent up to Tk 350,000 to go to Malaysia and up to Tk 800,000 for Saudi Arabia and Singapore. The rates are much higher than the official rates.


The government had fixed country-wise migration cost in June last. The rates are Tk 2,62,270 for Singapore-bound workers whereas Tk 160,000 for Malaysia, Tk 1,45,780 for Libya, Tk 97,780 for Bahrain, Tk 1,07,780 for the UAE, Tk 1,06,780 for Kuwait, Tk 1,00,780 for Oman, Tk 1,29, 540 for Iraq, Tk 1,00,780 for Qatar, Tk 1,02,780 for Jordan, Tk 1,20,080 for Egypt, Tk 1,66,640 for Russia, Tk 1,15,780 for the Maldives, Tk 1,20,780 for Brunei and Tk 1,17,780 for Lebanon.


Nuruzzaman, a Malaysia-bound worker, said the middleman demanded Tk 400,000 for a job in construction sector. After negotiation, the rate was fixed at Tk 360,000.


Without help of intermediaries, no jobseekers can go abroad, he said.


Belal Hossain, father of another worker, said, he spent Tk 650,000 to send his son to Saudi Arabia. Of the total amount, he gave Tk 400,000 to a neighbour who sent the visa from the Arab country and Tk 250,000 to a local recruiting agency.


His son got a job at a grocery shop at Tk 20,000 monthly wage. He did not disclose the recruiter's name as it might land his son to trouble, he observed.


Last year, the maximum migration cost for Saudi Arabia was fixed at Tk 165,000.


However, the government has increased the migration cost for Malaysia-bound workers as the rate was Tk 37,000 under the Government-to-Government (G-to-G) deal.


According to a report of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) that was revealed at a national consultation on 'Recruitment for Overseas Employment: Opportunities and Challenges' last year said the unofficial migration costs are now varying from Tk 200,000 to Tk 800,000 for Middle East-bound workers whereas it is Tk 200,000 to Tk 600,000 for workers for Malaysia.


Singapore-bound workers spend Tk 300,000 to Tk 850,000 each to secure jobs,


The BRAC report also showed that the Bangladeshi expatriate workers get monthly wage of only Tk 14,000 to Tk 38,000 in Middle East countries, Tk 20,000 to Tk 50,000 in Malaysia and Singapore. Sector insiders said a vicious cycle is working in the process of migration. Without stopping visa trading and interference of middlemen, it is quite impossible to check such unethical migration costs.


Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) executive director CR Abrar said in the last 10 years, the government reviewed migration fees several times. But it failed to enforce the rate. However, the expatriates' welfare ministry recently asked the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) for recommendations as to how to execute the official migration cost.


Following charging extra migration cost by a section of manpower recruiters, the ministry has taken such measures, said Azharul Haque, joint secretary at the ministry.


In a recent meeting, the ministry also directed the apex body of manpower recruiters to put their suggestions about preventing visa trading and middlemen's interference in the process of migration, he also said.


"We came to learn about charging extra migration cost from different newspapers and media recently," he added.


When contacted, BAIRA secretary general Ruhul Amin said they will submit their recommendations within next two weeks. He also said workers are paying a big amount for migration as currently their supply is more than the demand. "If we are able to send workers to more markets, migration cost will have been reduced significantly," he observed.


The officially-fixed rate is rational, he also admitted.


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