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Malaysia opening up to Bangladeshi workers
Publication Date : 02-01-2013
The year 2012 ended on a high note for the Bangladeshi overseas labour market.
The Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment ministry disclosed that the country had received a formal request from the Malaysian government for 10,000 workers. This is very good news, particularly when one takes into account that this major labour destination had been closed to Bangladeshi workers for four long years.
The signing of a formal Memorandum of Understanding between Bangladesh and Malaysia in 2012 paved the way for a state-to-state recruitment process, and we hope this is the first lot of 10,000 being taken with the remainder to follow in due course. The decision to do so could be a test-case to see whether the recruitment process has been streamlined as per requirements of the Malaysian counterpart.
The plan is to register 35,000 workers from Dhaka, Barisal, Rajshahi, and Rangpur divisions and through lottery select 10,000 successful candidates. Selected candidates would naturally have to qualify for work on the basis of health check-up before receiving confirmation through cell phone messaging. The declared cost per worker stands at 40,000 taka (US$500).
Naturally, all this looks very good, but the acid test for the authorities will come when actual recruitment process begins. We have been informed that selection of workers from each union will be done under a quota system based on the demographic map and that a government official would monitor registration and selection process at each registration centre.
Undoubtedly, this is a whole new method of recruitment the government is embarking on. This is an area in which it has no prior experience to count on. It involves a lot of logistical challenges such as computerised online registration, physical monitoring, and so on.
However, there is no reason to cast doubt on a system that has not yet been tested. What should be remembered is that much will depend on how well the ministry handles this deal. If successful, it could pave the way for other such agreements in new international labour markets.