Saturday, 10 December, 2022
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Hasten workers’ migration process

Hasten workers’ migration process

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Malaysia is home to around eight lakh Bangladeshis. Bangladeshi workers are contributing to the economic development of Malaysia as well as to the development of Bangladesh. But the Muslim majority Southeast Asian country suspended hiring Bangladeshi workers in September 2018 over allegations of malpractice in the recruitment process and high recruitment costs. However, to meet the growing demand of workers following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Malaysian cabinet in December last year decided to resume the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers.     Finally, after a hiatus of over three years, Malaysia officially reopened its labour market to our workers for five years until December 2026.

Reopening of Malaysian labour market for Bangladesh came as a welcome relief to us. But, the initial optimism has been replaced by anxiety and scepticism due to ongoing slow pace in sending workers to that country. The recruiting agencies have miserably failed to send the desired number of workers. According to a latest report in this newspaper, they managed to send only 4,659 workers to Malaysia in September and another 573 workers in August. It is indeed a frustrating revelation! At a time when migrant workers were looking forward to go to Malaysia within the shortest possible time, an apprehension of losing the potential market came to the fore again.

As per the report, the ministry of expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment will now issue a final warning to the recruiting agencies to speed up the process of sending workers. The minister concerned is supposed to sit with the agency owners to ask them the reasons behind the snail’s pace in worker migration. If they fail to deliver as per the expectations, the ministry might cancel their licenses. Whatever action the ministry takes against the recruiting agencies, it should be taken at the earliest; otherwise time is running out fast for Bangladesh. Malaysian manufacturers, who make up nearly one-fourth of the country’s economy, fear losing customers to other countries as growth picks up.

Sector insiders fear, if the slow recruitment process continues to linger, Bangladesh may lose the potential market to different other source countries. So, it is imperative to hasten workers’ recruitment and migration process to Kuala Lumpur. Loss of the Malaysian job market would be too costly for Bangladesh’s economy.