UAE | Employment

Bangladesh plans steps to curb illegal recruitment

Bangladesh to extend its national database project to cover overseas workers bound for Gulf States

  • By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 17:23 August 30, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
  • 17AUGUST2013 Muhammad Imran, Ambassador of Bangladesh to UAE , is seen during an interview yesterday at their Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News(story:Binsal)

Abu Dhabi: A key reason why Bangladeshi expatriates in the UAE end up violating the labour law is due to the phenomenon of unscrupulous recruiters who overcharge desperate job-seekers, said a top Bangladeshi diplomat.

A few of them abscond from employers in search of better paid jobs or get involved in illegal part-time jobs because they have to recover huge amount of money they paid to unscrupulous recruitment agents for visas, Mohammad Imran, Bangladeshi Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News.

To curb illegal recruitment, Bangladesh plans to extend its national database project to cover their overseas workers bound for the UAE and other Gulf States, he said.

There are an estimated 800,000 Bangladeshi expatriates in the UAE.

Bangladesh launched the national database for recruitment of workers to Malaysia as part of a bilateral arrangement with that country, Imran said.

A semi-government agency has been constituted to manage the recruitment and it has opened offices in all districts across the country.

“Prospective employees can submit their CV (Curriculum Vitae) at those centres free of cost and they will be selected for jobs in Malaysia.”

Media reports said Malaysia plans to recruit 1.4 million Bangladeshi workers in stages to fill labour shortages in the plantation and service sectors under a bilateral agreement.

He said workers were paying up to $4,000 to recruitment agents for one overseas job.

A Bangladeshi minister said the bilateral deal has reduced the cost of recruitment per worker from $4,000 (Dh14,680) to $400 (Dh1,468).

“Earlier, they (workers) had to work for four to five years to cover the cost because of exploitation by middlemen. Now they can settle the amount in two months,” Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Bangladeshi Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister, told reporters last week.

The ambassador said in a desperate attempt to recover hefty amount paid for such go-betweens, this leads them to violate labour laws of the host country.

The national database project cuts off the recruitment agents in the process, Imran said.

He did not say when the project will cover Bangladeshis being recruited to Gulf countries. The Dhaka government considers the UAE and other Gulf States as a key destination for its expatriate workers, he said.

Dhaka is also set to craft a new law on foreign employment, which will hold recruitment agents more accountable. The Cabinet has already approved the draft law that will be referred to the parliament soon, the envoy said.

Problems of Bangladeshi workers in the UAE originate from the recruitment process in their home country. Many recruitment agents charge higher recruitment fees than that of legally permitted.

As Gulf News reported earlier the Sri Lankan Embassy in Abu Dhabi said there is an inverse relationship between the number of runaway housemaids and that of blacklisted recruitment agencies, at least in the case of Sri Lankans in the capital.

The more the number of unscrupulous recruitment agents blacklisted by the authorities, the less was the number of runaway housemaids taking refuge in the embassy’s shelter house. The number of runaway housemaids in the shelter house of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Abu Dhabi had gone down by at least 80 per cent in the past three years preceding 2012.

The downward trend began when the embassy started taking strict action against unscrupulous recruitment agencies. The number of complaints related to other labour disputes also started going down. Unscrupulous recruitment agencies are mostly responsible for the disputes between workers and employers, the embassy said.

Many prospective employees in Asian countries take loans from money sharks at exorbitant interest rates to pay that fee as they are lured by the exaggerated salary figures in the labour contracts offered by the agents.

It is the beginning of ‘contract substitution’ as the agents give a different contract with less salary and different terms when they reach the UAE. Most labour disputes originate from this contract substitution.

Figures

Bangladeshi Embassy steps up awareness drive

Abu Dhabi: Workers violate local rules and regulations because of ignorance also, Mohammad Imran, Bangladeshi Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News. “We have intensified awareness programmes about local rules and regulations at labour accommodations for Bangladeshi workers,” he said.

The embassy’s welfare officer leads such programmes and often the ambassador also visits the labour accommodations and talk to workers.

The UAE Ministry of Labour has been informed about this programmes.

“We always tell the workers they have to be vigilant and careful while living in a foreign nation,” Imran said.

The embassy distributes printed awareness materials in Bengali language to workers.

  • 800,000 Estimated Bangladeshis in the UAE
  • 1.4 million Bangladeshis to be recruited to Malaysia
  • $4,000 (Dh14680)-paid by workers for overseas employment
  • $400 workers pay under new govt project
  • 4-5 years time to recover recruitment costs for workers

Comments (7)

  1. Added 18:10 August 31, 2013

    I living in uae before three years ago. Now i'm in bangladesh. i'm looking for new visa, I hope, as soon as visa will be open for bangladeshi people.

    Ali Nawaz, Chittagong, Bangladesh

  2. Added 15:47 August 31, 2013

    Kindly open Bangladeshi Visa please. Thanks & Regards

    ANISUR RAHMAN, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 14:08 August 31, 2013

    I wish that Bangladesh Government can succeed on this project and soon UAE visa will resume for poor people, thanks

    Mohammad Nazmul Hoque, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 13:46 August 31, 2013

    Most of Bangladeshi graduates leaving to USA, Canada, Australia, Uk, Italy, Japan and EU countries for higher study and job. They think Gulf is only for illiterate and unskilled people. Bangladesh govt must take initiative to send only educated and skilled workforce in Gulf. Gulf economy is booming and its job package and prospect is far better than any other region in the universe. So please send those graduate in gulf especially in UAE even in a small salary bcoz later they will get more better opportunity. Please wipe out who is unfit illiterate from Gulf and let them join in Bangladesh garments sector. I believe Bangladeshi has talent and possibilities. Pls stop all recruiting agent as they r real cheater, cheating with innocent poor people whom they give dream and spoil it. If you come in a visa with a salary of 750 dhs per month for a 2 years visa. How much you can save end of 2 years? You must need to go to clean others car illegally in terrible sunlight. Is this the dream you had when u came here spending 2.5 lac taka? Its really spoiling our national image in Gulf. Hope you know whats going on here in Gulf with most Bangladeshi, Its only bcoz of Recruiting Agent. You go any part of world u will see Bangladeshis having better life. So pls allow those to enter Gulf who is Graduate. Wish You all the best.

    Kazi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 12:42 August 31, 2013

    Good to hear that but nothing about opening UAE visa for Bangladeshis!!

    Fazl, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 12:26 August 31, 2013

    The problem of Bangladeshi illegal expectators,not only with due respect to His Excellency Bangladesh Ambassador what has mentioned above. To find out the reason of illegal Bangladeshi community I request to have a close door community meeting with the senior Bangladeshi expectators and need to figure it out where is the problem and I believe that we(Community) can provide the right information. With those points our diplomats and Ministry of Foreign affairs with the support of overseas employment ministry, the problem can be solved. I remember long time back we solved some problems with the support of the Government of U.A.E along with the then Labour Conselor of Bangladesh regarding child Camel Jokey and also some Labour disputes of Garment Factories of Sharjah and Ajman and it was also supported by the print media coverage of Gulf News at that time. So, my request to His Highness Ambassador of Bangladesh and Dubai Console General is to please call the Community meeting to note down the recommendations of the senior community people and need to take action according to their channels.

    Abdus Salam Khan(Salim), Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 11:48 August 31, 2013

    I hope the authorities open visa for Bangladeshi workers soon inshallah

    Md.Jashim Uddin, Ajman, United Arab Emirates

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