The Government of Bangladesh has made it mandatory for all private recruiting agencies to hire workers to be sent abroad from an official database of registered migrant workers.
A circular issued by the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment on March 28 announced it is compulsory for agents to refer to the migrant workers’ database to recruit potential workers.
The decision aims to minimise the role of agents and brokers in the recruitment process, who often unscrupulous and exploit workers. According to Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, minister for labour and employment and expatriates welfare and overseas employment, the move will bring down the total cost for migrant workers.
Earlier this month the minister told the Dhaka Tribune the database would benefit Bangladeshi migrant workers, “We took the decision so workers are not cheated when they go abroad for work.”
The high cost for migrant workers is due to exorbitant charges demanded by agents, but the government intends to lower migration costs by fixing the amount that can be charged by private recruiting agents.
The move has been praised by private recruitment agencies, who have praised the government’s decision to help migrant workers go abroad for work, without having to spend large sums of money. “We will request the government to fix a country-wise reasonable migration cost,” added the recruiter.
Ali Haider Chowdhury, secretary general of Bangladesh Association of International Recruitment Agencies (BAIRA) stated workers were recruited from the government database. However, a senior ministry official seeking to remain anonymous said migrant workers had to deal with a number of middlemen, if they wanted to work abroad, and the cost of paying them increases the total cost of migration for Bangladeshi labourers.
By making it mandatory for recruitment agencies to only send workers registered with the government in the migrant workers’ database, the brokers won’t have to recruit them from across the country, instead they can find the names and details of those who want to work abroad in the database.