Organised rackets of brokers are controlling recruitment of workers from Bangladesh, putting them in jeopardy, according to the Bangladesh High Commission in Bandar Seri Begawan.
A strong involvement of brokers in the trading of visas has increased the cost of migration for Bangladeshi workers, Bangladesh mission officials told New Age over phone.
On arrival of Bangladeshi workers in Brunei, brokers take possession of their passports and compel them to pay a monthly commission of up to $ 100 each, the officials said.
Brokers often recruit Bangladeshi workers for fake companies against no job in reality without getting the visas attested by the Bangladesh high commission’s labour wing, putting the workers in uncertainty, they said.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Brunei Air Vice-Marshal (retd) Mahmud Hossain has recently informed the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment that brokers collect visas from Brunei’s labuor department in unethical ways and charge each worker up to Tk 5 lakh as migration cost.
‘Most of the visas collected by brokers are not attested by officials of the mission’s labour wing,’ Mahmud said.
The Bangladeshi workers who go to Brunei with unattested visas, the high commissioner added, find no job and thus have to live in the street in a ‘very distressing condition’.
‘Such situation tarnishes the country’s image, threatening the job market for Bangladeshi workers,’ he observed.
The high commissioner has advised the Bangladesh authorities to stop sending workers to Brunei with ‘unattested visas’ and ensure strict monitoring at the airport in this regard.
For a permanent solution to the problem, the Bangladesh mission suggested that Dhaka might adopt a recruitment process arranged by the Philippines with Brunei under which up to 30 manpower agencies, approved by the Brunei government, were provided licences by the Philippines authorities to hire Filipino workers.
The Philippines government has made it mandatory that the demand for recruitment of its nationals must be attested by the labour wing of its mission in Brunei.
Officials said that Bangladeshi workers frequently lodged complaints to the Bangladesh mission’s labour wing in Brunei’s capital that they were cheated or denied their wages.
About 30,000 Bangladeshi workers are currently working in Brunei, with most of them employed in the construction sector, according to the Bangladesh High Commission there.
They further said that Brunei had huge demand for skilled workers, including tile fixers, electricians and maintenance workers, and the wages of the skilled workers were far higher than those of the unskilled ones.
The Bangladesh mission has also advised the overseas employment ministry for creating a pool of trade-wise skilled workers for Brunei, especially gas welders, paramedics, nurses, domestic helps, agriculture workers, fishermen, caterers, chefs, petro-chemists, engineers, and landscapers.
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