Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) has expressed concern over the draft Overseas Employment and Migrant Workers Act, 2013.
The cabinet in its regular weekly meeting on April 15 approved the draft in principle, keeping a provision of seven-year imprisonment for cheating migrant workers. The umbrella organisation of human resource exporters says fraudulent recruiting agents should not be held solely responsible for migration related crimes.
“We have no objection to punishing the cheating recruiting agencies but all stakeholders including migrant workers, ministry officials, embassies and immigration officials will have to be brought to book for their faults,” BAIRA secretary general Ali Haider Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
He said the organisation had held an academic discussion with Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) about the issue.
On May 2, a five-member team led by Baira President Shahjalal Majumder met RMMRU Chairperson Tasneem Siddiqui and expressed their concern over the proposed law. “Baira has conveyed their objection to some of the provisions of the proposed law,” Tasneem Siddiqui told this correspondent.
RMMRU is scheduled to hold a consultation meeting on the draft of the act on May 11. Legal experts, civil society members, academicians and government officials will attend the consultation, its officials said.
A senior official of the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry said no organisation can arrange such a consultation at this stage since the draft has been prepared after consulting the various stakeholders.
The official said the draft will be finalised after holding meetings with the finance ministry, home ministry, law ministry and the foreign ministry and will be sent to the law ministry for vetting.
After the vetting, the draft will be sent to the cabinet for final approval.
The government initiated the process of enacting a fresh law for streamlining orderly migration to replace the Emigration Ordinance – 1982 currently in effect.
The draft Overseas Employment and Migrant Workers Act, 2013 proposes up to seven years’ imprisonment and Tk500,000 in fine for fraudulent practices of recruiting agencies.