The Bangladesh government has decided to allow workers to the Sarawak province of Malaysia with jobs in the plantation and agricultural sectors there, said officials.
Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry officials said that 10,000 to 12,000 workers from Bangladesh could annually get jobs in the plantation sector of the province.
Sarawak is a special administrative zone of Malaysia which enjoys autonomy as regards its governance.
Recently a high-level Bangladesh team, led by the ministry’s state minister Irnran Ahmad, visited the Sarawak province and had meetings with its governor and other top officials.
EWOE Ministry’s additional secretary Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, who accompanied the state minister and attended the meetings, told New Age Sunday that the Sarawak government showed keen interest to recruit Bangladeshi workers for its plantation
The ministry has already received a demand for 40 jobs in the province, he said.
According to the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, the Bangladesh government has been making efforts to send workers to Sarawak.
Bangladesh High Commission officials told New Age that they had a number of meetings with employers in Sarawak and were optimistic of securing jobs for Bangladeshi workers there.
Private recruiting agencies in Bangladesh said that apart from plantation jobs, there were also opportunities in different other sectors in the Malaysian autonomous province as large-scale development activities were going on in the province.
They said that workers could be recruited for jobs in Sarawak by any recruiting agency.
In 2014, the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training had selected 5,000 Bangladeshi workers for plantation jobs in Sarawak, but they could not be sent due to the lack of response from the Malaysian government under the previous government-to-government agreement.
Migrant rights activists say that Bangladeshi workers might face rights-related challenges in Sarawak, which is an isolated province of Malaysia with rocky, hilly and bushy terrains.
They say that workers would find it difficult to lodge complaints in Sarawak if they face any problem due to the absence of any office of the Bangladesh mission there.
They also say that workers should be sent to Sarawak only after getting confirmation of their jobs and ensuring of full insurance coverage for them.
There is no definite official data as to how many Bangladeshis are there in Sarawak Province, said officials.