FMT 25th Feb 2023: Bangladesh agents want review of Malaysian migrant worker MoU to cut recruitment costs
Bangladesh Agents Want Review of Malaysian Migrant Worker MoU to Cut Recruitment Costs
Bangladesh agents for the International Recruitment Agencies Association say it currently costs about RM 20,000 for their workers to come to Malaysia.
Bangladeshi recruitment agencies are hoping for a review of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on hiring workers between Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur signed in 2021 to bring down the high costs involved.
Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) said home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail had said the MoU would be reviewed during his visit there last week.
Baira’s joint secretary Md Tipu Sultan said the review was necessary to make the process easier for the workers to enter Malaysia and also to reduce the current cost, which can be as high as RM20,000 each.
He claimed the initial migration cost had increased from about RM16,000 to RM20,000 per worker because the agencies involved “have to share the money at different levels”.
He was happy the new government, led by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, had taken a stand against labour exploitation.
“We have already given letters to the prime ministers of both the countries asking them to resolve the problems as soon as possible,” he told The Business Standard, a Bangladeshi news network.
According to the report, Saifuddin had given his word to make recruitment faster and lower the migration costs.
“We will speed up the process (of hiring) and the Malaysian government is committed to reducing the migration cost,” Saifuddin had said when meeting his counterpart and other officials.
Recently, human resources minister V Sivakumar said in Parliament that the number of Bangladeshi recruitment agencies allowed to send workers to Malaysia had been increased from 25 to 100.
He also said the fee to recruit foreign workers from other countries was too high and the government had taken various measures to reduce it.
According to reports, statistics from Bangladesh’s Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Trading showed Malaysia is the second-highest recruiter of workers from the country.
Malaysia recruited 25,000 workers in January from Bangladesh, with another 400,000 workers expected to arrive by the end of the year.
See also: ‘Malaysian labour market rebounds despite high migration cost’ Kamran Siddiqui 25 February, 2023, 01:30 pm at https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/migration/malaysian-labour-market-rebounds-despite-high-migration-cost-590446
Malaysian HR ministry ups Bangladeshi recruitments agencies to 100
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The Human Resources Ministry has increased the number of Bangladeshi recruitment agents (BRA) by fourfold after selecting 100 agencies for the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers.
This is an increase from the original 25 agencies that were allowed to do so previously.
Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar made the revelation during the winding-up speech of his ministry in the Parliament today.
Sivakumar (above) was replying to a question from Howard Lee (Harapan – Ipoh Timor) if the government has plans to allow employers to use the services of over 1,520 recruitment agencies that are provided by Bangladesh, rather than just the 100 selected BRAs
“It is not just for Bangladesh but the fee to recruit foreign workers from other countries is too high and the government has taken various measures in an attempt to reduce the recruitment cost.
“As Ipoh Timor had mentioned, for Bangladesh, we understand that we have 100 recruitment agencies that are involved.
“The government is looking into this matter – on how we can try to reduce cost. This is an important matter,” he said.
Last January, Sivakumar’s predecessor M Saravanan revealed that he took the initiative to add 24 BRAs and 250 sub-agents from the previous 10 BRAs that were involved in recruiting new workers bound for Malaysia.
It came about after the signing of a new five-year labour recruitment agreement with Bangladesh’s Expatriates’ and Overseas Welfare Minister Imran Ahmed.
The agreement – signed by both governments on Dec 19, 2021 – had lifted a freeze imposed on Sept 1, 2018.
Tapah MP M Saravanan
Saravanan came under fire for selecting only 25 companies for the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers, with several quarters criticising and asking him to explain his decision, while others warned that it would result in a monopolistic environment.
The Tapah MP had since denied all allegations of monopoly but stressed that the increase was to safeguard the welfare and livelihood of foreign workers, and to avoid monopolistic practices.
On Feb 8, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was reported as saying that he wants the practice of using agents to recruit foreign workers to be stopped.
Anwar also said the excessive recruitment fee to hire migrant workers is tantamount to modern-day slavery.
Additional Background Links:
1. (Daily Star, 31st Jan 2023) Dhaka expecting open labour migration
2. (Daily Star, 16th Jan 2023) New Malaysian PM could mean good news for Bangladeshi workers
3. (Vibes 10th Jan 2023) ‘Bangladeshi/Malaysia recruitment cartels’ grip must end’