Rate of Bangladeshi workers’ entry into Malaysia worrying, says migrant rights activist Andy Hall
Andy Hall says more than 300,000 Bangladeshi workers have entered Malaysia in less than two years.
PETALING JAYA: An international migrant rights activist, Andy Hall has expressed concern about the rapid pace at which Bangladeshi workers are coming into Malaysia, especially as many end up stranded upon arrival.
According to Andy Hall, another matter of concern is that the number of Bangladeshis entering the country far exceeds other nationalities coming to Malaysia to work.
A Bangladeshi newspaper, quoting the country’s bureau of manpower, employment and training, reported that more than 300,000 of 450,000 approved workers have come into Malaysia since the labour market re-opened in December 2021.
The Bangladeshi Business Standard also said another 120,000 workers from the country are in the process of travelling to Malaysia.
It said that in August, Bangladesh recorded its highest number of labour exports in a month ever, with over 138,600 workers leaving the country, 46,105 of whom were headed for Malaysia.
“It’s very concerning that a massive number of Bangladeshi migrant workers are coming into Malaysia these days. The number far exceeds other nationalities. More than 300,000 have entered the country in less than two years,” Hall said.
“We know that many of these workers end up in acute modern slavery situations in the country, due to debt bondage from exorbitant recruitment costs.”
He said Bangladeshi migrants were paying more than US$6,000 (RM28,140) per person, adding that the recruitment costs paid by all nationalities had sharply risen.
He said the longstanding problem of Bangladeshi migrants brought in by syndicates not being offered jobs upon arrival here has not been fully resolved.
“While this has been caused by bogus Malaysian employers and agents, the Bangladeshi government is complicit in allowing these syndicates to continue to draw its citizens into a situation of abuse and debt bondage in Malaysia,” he said.
Malaysia signed an agreement with Bangladesh on Dec 19, 2021, to reopen its labour market for migrant workers after imposing a ban for three-and-a-half years.
The report said the sectors they had been deployed in were manufacturing, construction, services, plantation, agriculture, mining, and household services.
Background information available at: 25th Feb 2023: Bangladesh agents want review of Malaysian migrant worker MoU to cut recruitment costs.