A Bangladeshi housekeeper is required to pay $1,800 equivalent to Tk 1. 51 lakh as the cost of migration to Hong Kong, though employers bear the cost of migration.
Recruiting agencies in Bangladesh illegally realize the migration costs for ‘our housemaids’ migrant right activists told New Age.
The recruiting agencies illegally charge $500 as training fee, $ 500as airfare, $ 150 as manpower clearance fee, $ 150 as the scrutiny/selection/ office rent fee, $200 as local service charge and $ 300 as the service charge supposedly payable to recruiting agent in Hong Kong.
Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training director Nurul Islam told New Age that each Hong Kong bound female housekeeper was required to pay $ 1,800 as her migration cost as no employer in Hong Kong bears the cost.
But an agreement signed between the BMET and Hong Kong’s association of recruiting agencies in 2012, requires the employers to bear their full migration costs.
He said that the Probshi Kalyan Bank provides loans to ‘our housekeepers’ to finance their migration costs.
He said housekeepers migration to Hong Kong declined since most of the recruiting agencies in Bangladesh began to take greater interests in sending ‘our housemaids’ to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the Saudi employers pay $2,000 to a recruiting agency for sending a housemaid to the KSA.
International Domestic Workers’ Federation in Hong Kong expressed concern over recruiting agencies in Bangladesh realizing the cost of migration from the housekeepers for sending them to Hong Kong.
IDWF’ regional coordinator for Asia Fish Ip told New Age in an email message that Hong Kong’s Employment Ordinance clearly stipulates, ‘Only 10 per cent of a worker’s first month’s salary could be collected as an agency’s fee.’
She said that Hong Kong’s law stipulates that the employers have to pay a ‘Minimum Allowable Wage’ to migrant domestic workers.
She said that the wage level is set and reviewed by the government from time to time. The current minimum allowable wage of migrant domestic workers (regardless of nationality) is HK$ 4,410, effective on or after 30 Sep 2017.
Fish Ip also said that workers should be provided by the employers free passages to Hong Kong: meaning that the employers were paying the air fare plus HK $100 per day of the worker’s travel.
‘And any mandatory amount that is needed to be paid by the workers under the policy / law of government of the country of origin, has to be paid by the employers - on the submission of receipts,’ she said.
So the breakdown of agency fee the Bangladesh is listed if already illegal under Hong Kong law certainly on the following items, she said
Migrant rights campaigner and WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque said that according to international law and code of practice, Hong Kong employers were bound to pay the recruitment cost of the housekeepers.
‘We want to know the provisions in the agreement between the BMET and Hong Kong’s association of recruiting agencies and the why Bangladesh government failed to enforce it,’ he demanded.
He demanded facilitating housekeepers’ migration to Hong Kong at ‘zero cost.’
Bangladesh could lose Hong Kong’s ‘lucrative and safe labour market’ for not sending housekeepers under the agreement.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country