Out of 1,400 recruiting agencies having valid licences, only 400 are active, Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training officials told New Age.
As most of the workers secure foreign jobs and visas with help from relatives, active recruiting agencies have to do nothing other than helping them in getting clearance of BMET, they said.
BMET director general Salim Reza told New Age that between 300 to 400 active recruiting agencies help migrant workers in processing visas.
Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry secretary-in-charge Namita Haldar said that there were 1,400 licenced recruiting agencies in Bangladesh.
At a parliamentary standing committee hearing she said that applications seeking licences of 62 recruiting agencies were under the approval process.
She also informed the committee that cancellation of licences of recruiting agencies facing complaints of irregularities was overdue.
She told the hearing that she was in favour of cancelling the licences of recruiting agencies which committed the irregularities by amending the Overseas Employment and Migrants’ Act 2013.
Migrant rights campaigners said recruiting agencies were not playing their due role in ensuring safe and orderly migration.
They said most of the recruiting agencies cheat migrant workers to earn profits.
They alleged that inactive recruiting agencies dump workers by trafficking them.
In 2015, according to BMET records, 5.55 lakh workers got overseas jobs and the jobs of only 70, 976 of them were arranged by recruiting agencies.
Absence of monitoring by the government, said officials, facilitate trafficking of workers by recruiting agencies.
According a report sent to the government by Bangladesh Embassy in Lebanon, at least 35 housemaids of Bangladesh became victims of trafficking to Syria by recruiting agencies of Bangladesh and Lebanon.
The report says that these girls became victims of trafficking after leaving Bangladesh with BMET’s clearance.
WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque and Film4Peace Foundation chairman Prevez Siddiqui demanded categorization of Bangladeshi recruiting agencies through regular evaluation of performance and cancellation of the agencies found involved in foul play.
Namita informed the parliamentary standing committee that following the prime minister’s order a process was underway to open a law wing in the EWOE Ministry with a legal advisor for the disposal of pending cases of irregularities against recruiting agencies.
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