The Financial Express

10,000 Bangladesh workers may secure Brunei jobs next year

Middlemen seen as challenge in hiring

| Updated: November 17, 2020 13:30:04

Lankabangla and Fianancial Express Lankabangla and Fianancial Express
File photo used only for representation — Collected File photo used only for representation — Collected

Bangladeshi workers are likely to get an opportunity to go to Brunei with jobs next year, as the country will start a new project that will create scopes of employment for many foreign workers, officials said.

According to the officials, Brunei will start an oil refinery project next year, where at least 40,000 jobs will be created. Minimum 10,000 Bangladeshis may get jobs there.

The country will need manpower, like - welding, scaffolding and construction workers as well as plants and machine operators, for the project.

Brunei, a tiny country, is home to 150,000 foreign workers. Most of them have come from Indonesia, whereas the Philippines and Bangladesh are the second-largest countries in terms of supplying workers there.

If the proposed development work starts, a significant number of workers will get jobs in Brunei, said officials at the Bangladesh High Commission in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Bangladesh can also increase its share of overseas employment by sending skilled workers to the country.

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh High Commission in Brunei has recently sent a letter to the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, suggesting preparing demand-based workers to tap the Brunei market.

Officials said the demand for skilled workers is there. Already many local workers returned home from different Middle-East or South-East Asian countries during the pandemic period. They still remain jobless at home.

These workers already have experience. They can get remigration to Brunei through required skill training.

The high commission officials also said Brunei needs workers for its tourism hub and housing projects. These projects will also start next year.

About 7,000 houses will be built in Brunei. Besides, the work of a tourism hub remains suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. So, more job opportunities will be created in these projects in 2021.

The South-East Asian country prefers Bangladeshi workers, as they are hard-working. A notable number of Bangladeshi workers may get job opportunity in that country, if their migration process works properly.

Contacted, Nahida Rahman Shumona, Bangladesh High Commissioner in Brunei, said currently the country is not allowing foreign workers due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But there will be an opportunity for jobs in Brunei in the middle of 2021.

"We are trying to tap jobs for Bangladeshi workers here."

But there is a challenge of reducing the interference of middlemen in the process of recruitment, and the high commission is working in this regard.

Ms Shumona also said they have a plan to send workers there under government management.

Bangladeshi workers spend Tk 400,000 each on an average to go to Brunei. But their wages are very poor. So, they are not benefited by this migration.

Each of the Bangladeshi workers earns Bruneian Dollar 200-250 per month. After meeting all expenses they can hardly save any money.

"We are trying on increasing their wages."

Indonesia has sought 450 Bruneian Dollar as minimum wage for each of its workers.

"We are also thinking about how to ensure a standard wage for Bangladeshi workers," she added.

Different sources said about 20,000 Bangladeshi workers are staying in Brunei now. Besides, 5,000 workers came home to enjoy leave. So far, they could not return to Brunei to join their workplaces following the coronavirus pandemic.

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