The inflow of remittance, which has substantial contribution to the national economy, has gone down in 2017 despite the growing number of manpower export during the outgoing year.
Expatriates' Welfare & Overseas Employment Nurul Islam BSc told journalist that his ministry has managed to send a record number of 9.93 lakh workers abroad compared to 5.55 lakh in 2015 and 7.57 lakh in 2016.
Regarding the fall in the remittance inflow, the minister said it does not fall under his ministry's jurisdiction, but hinted that illegal "hundi" transactions are not included in the official remittance figures.
Remittance inflow has marked a 0.89 percent fall compared to previous year, according to a report prepared by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU).
The report estimated that the country earned $ 13.5 billion in remittance in the outgoing year against $ 13.61 billion last year. The country received $ 13.61 billion in remittance in 2016 while it was $ 15.11 billion in 2015.
Allegations have surfaced against private recruiting agencies that they are taking higher immigration charges from workers as the government has failed to stabilise the rate till now.
The agencies are not abiding by the government-fixed immigration fees, which are - Tk 1.6 lakh for Malaysia, Tk 1.89 lakh for Saudi Arabia, Tk 1.77 lakh for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Tk 1.67 lakh for Kuwait, Tk 1.27 lakh for Jordan. They are taking higher fees than those set, the minister said.
The ministry attributes the 28 percent rise in sending manpower this year to the high labour exports to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Oman respectively. It is also trying to explore new markets to export manpower, putting more emphasis on vocational training and creating intern posts for trainees.
Export to Malaysia has also marked a fall due to a lack of monitoring in the government-to-government (G2G) agreement.
Although 5 lakh workers were supposed to go to Malaysia under this agreement, only 83,169 have gone so far, only 10 recruiting agencies facilitating their overseas jobs.
The Malaysian government, on the other hand, has declared that over 3 lakh illegal workers will be deported by the end of this year, enforcing their combing operation to find out and arrest them.
Minister Nurul Islam said that talks are underway with Malaysia and some Middle Eastern countries to ensure legal employment for Bangladeshi workers.
He added that numerous teams have been formed to explore new recruitment possibilities in countries like Japan.
The minister reaffirmed his ministry's determination in development of skilled workers across the country, with 26 district-level centres decentralizing the process of paper-works and verifications for RMG workers and house-helps.
This year approximately 5.13 lakh workers got jobs in Saudi Arabia, while 83,000 in Oman, 77,000 in Qatar, 46,000 in Kuwait and 37,000 in Singapore.
Among those recruited, 1.13 lakh were women, including 76,000 in Saudi Arabia, 19,000 in Jordan and 8,600 in Oman.
Apart from maids and RMG workers, the female workers were recruited mainly as saleswomen, care-givers, and baby sitters.
The minister said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with International Development Organisation of Japan to further develop the Bangladeshi workers in numerous trades.
Japan has recently expressed their interest to take interns from Bangladesh under their Technical Intern Training Programme (TITP), where they will be trained for 5 years and later be sent back home to pursue entrepreneurship.
This agreement was part of 4 such agreements signed on July 8, 2015, where it was stated that the trainees, upon completion of their courses, could pursue jobs in Japan for three years.
Nurul Islam BSc also recently met with the UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash to discuss expanding the number of manpower recruitment from Bangladesh.
As per the latest UAE recruitment-related decree, a worker who has worked there for more than 3 years can be eligible to change their employers, subject to issuing notice periods well ahead of time.