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Malaysian Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has expressed his dissatisfaction in the workers’ recruitment process from Bangladesh.
He made the comment on Saturday while meeting a Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) delegation, led by its Chief Adviser Mohd Noor Ali, at the InterContinental Dhaka.
The BAIRA leaders urged the Malaysian minister to open the labour market for Bangladesh just like Malaysia did with Nepal, to better safeguard the interest of workers and all BAIRA members.
At the meeting, Saifuddin discussed key issues with the BAIRA delegation including the health screening service, auto-rotation among recruiting agencies, and lack of an adequate number of e-Visa processing centres.
He added that Malaysia may decide to bypass these recruiting procedures, and initiate a fast-track system to bring in up to 5.5 lakh Bangladeshi workers to Malaysia, similarly to other sourcing countries such as Nepal, meeting sources say.
In the meeting, BAIRA leaders discussed the overly convoluted and monopolistic recruitment system with the minister.
They also mentioned that for every person recruited, ten are undergoing health screenings. Only Bangladesh has the auto-rotation system, but the other 13 sourcing countries do not have this procedure. This is a very harmful system.
Insiders say that the Malaysian home minister has acknowledged the corruption in MiGRAMS, and pointed out that such a malpractice should not have happened with the poor people.
It should be noted that only MEFC – controlled by Bestinet owner Datuk Seri Aminul Islam Bin Abdul Nor – is controlling the recruitment process of Malaysia bound workers.
Bangladeshi recruiting agencies receive work orders from Malaysian recruiters. But a Bestinet controlled system uses an auto-rotation method to distribute work orders among Bangladeshi recruiters.
Due to this faulty system, a work order submitted by a recruiting agency can go to another agency which may not have involvement in the process in any way, industry insiders say.
They added that the agency which originally submitted the work order now has to pay around Tk 1.5 lakh or 5,500 ringgit per worker to another agency as service charge.
The issuance of e-Visa used to take around 1-3 day, but now it takes around 20-25 days. Such additional costs and delays are pushing up the migration costs for Bangladeshis planning to work in Malaysia.
According to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Bangladesh and Malaysia back in December 2021, it is not mandatory to conduct health screenings in Bangladesh.
A worker has to spend Tk 7,500 for health screening, and an extra 100 ringgits (Tk 2,700) for MiGRAMS registration. These costs are supposed to be paid by a Malaysian employer, not by the Bangladeshi workers.
BAIRA Secretary General Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman was present at Saturday’s meeting among other leaders.
Speaking to The Business Post, Noman said, “The Malaysian home minister is well aware of what has happened in Bangladesh regarding the manpower recruitment process, and what is happening now.
“He will take necessary measures so that workers can work in that country through a much simpler and cheaper process.”
Noman added, “The Malaysian minister said he will discuss such matters with Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad on Sunday.
“So Bangladeshi workers can find work in Malaysia under the cheapest and fastest system possible.”
BAIRA Senior Vice President Reaz ul Islam, former Secretary General and incumbent EC member Ali Haider Chowdhury, former senior vice president and incumbent EC member Shahadat Hossain, Vice President Abul Barakat Bhuiyan, Joint Secretary General Fakhrul Islam, and Finance Secretary Mizanur Rahman were present there among others.