The workers, who had been sent with worker visas reportedly by Bangladeshi-based Catharsis International Recruiting Agency, said the Malaysian authorities deported them because their calling visas had expired
After being refused by the immigration police to enter Malaysia, 63 Bangladeshi workers have returned to the country within three days of their departure.
The workers, who had been sent with worker visas reportedly by Bangladeshi-based Catharsis International Recruiting Agency, said the Malaysian authorities deported them because their calling visas had expired.
"All of us 63 Bangladeshi workers left for Malaysia through Catharsis on work visas to work for Malaysian Supermax Company," Mukhlesur Rahman, hailing from Meherpur district, told the Dhaka Tribune. "But the Malaysian immigration police barred us from entering the country, saying that our calling visas had expired the day before we landed."
Mukhlesur, alongside 62 other workers, arrived in Bangladesh flying US Bangla Airlines on Saturday night.
"I spent Tk340,000 to go to Malaysia," Mukhlesur continued. "However, when we landed in Malaysia, the Supermax Company officials did not come to receive us until 10pm. When they finally came, the immigration police told them we had problems with our papers."
The police had taken their phones and money forcing all of the workers to stay without food and a place to stay. "We had to starve and sleep in the airport. We only got back our mobile phones on Saturday.
"And then they deported us," he said.
After returning to Bangladesh, Mukhlesur contacted his local broker Md Mokbul Ahmed, who in turn told him to go to the recruiting agency to discuss the issue. "They assured me I will be sent again within 10 days."
Meanwhile, a few others complained that they were deported following problems over financial transactions between the recruiting agencies of Bangladesh and Malaysia.
Kishoreganj's Nasir Uddin said: “I got to know we were deported because there were problems over monetary transactions between the recruiting agencies of the two countries."
The workers claimed they received training from Rabbi International and had clearances from the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training through different agents.
However, against the workers' claims that they gone to work for Supermax, the Dhaka Tribune found out their clearances were issued under 46 individual companies in Malaysia.
Responsible sources said the workers had been cheated.
The officials of Catharsis denied all allegations against them and said they had not sent the 63 workers.
"There has been a misunderstanding," said Md Ziaur Rahman, manager of the recruiting agency. "We did not send the workers to Malaysia. They might have gone there with the help of other sub-agents.
“I do not know why the workers are making such allegations to the media," he continued."Perhaps they made mistakes. We are not involved in the matter, yet we are receiving hundreds of phone calls from journalists."
The manager said a press conference will be he held soon to make their stance clear in regard to the issue.
On the other hand, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) said they had been informed of the incident, and will take steps to send the workers back to Malaysia as fast as possible.
"We are taking care of the matter," Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, secretary general of Baira said. "The ministry has already been informed. Perhaps there was a communication gap between the recruiting agencies and Supermax Company. We have talked to the agencies and steps will be taken to resend the workers."
He assured that the workers will not have to pay extra. "And if they want their money back, we will do that too."
Brac Migration program head Shariful Hasan said: "The workers were clearly cheated. After spending money to go and work in Malaysia, they were sent back after only three days. The government must investigate into the incidents and the perpetrators must be brought to book.
"There are many allegations and counter-allegations regarding this matter," he continued. "But it is not that difficult to find out who were responsible for cheating the workers. We already have some data, and if the government wants, it can find out who played what role in this incident."