Malaysia agrees to recruit Bangladeshi workers again

Malaysia has agreed to reopen its labour market to Bangladesh, ending a three-year pause in recruitments after several rounds of talks between the countries.

Published : 19 Dec 2021, 11:19 AM
Updated : 19 Dec 2021, 11:32 AM

Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad and Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Saravanan on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Kuala Lumpur to allow Bangladeshi workers to in the Southeast Asian country again.

The deal requires Malaysian contractors to bear all the costs of recruiting Bangladeshi workers, including bringing them into the country, arranging residential facilities and sending them home, the overseas employment ministry said.

Malaysian contractors are allowed to use recruiting agents, while covering the costs related to immigration, visa, insurance, health and COVID tests, and quarantine fees for Bangladeshi workers.

“The employer will ensure residence, insurance, healthcare and other welfare needs of workers. Hopefully, the expenditures of migrant workers will fall significantly,” the ministry said.

In 2016, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding by which, Malaysia agreed to recruit workers from Bangladesh in five different sectors under a “government-to-government plus” scheme.

Ten Bangladeshi recruitment agencies were permitted to send workers to Malaysia under the five-year contract.

But the Malaysian government stopped issuing visas to Bangladeshi workers in 2018 after allegations surfaced that the workers were paying Bangladeshi agents 10 times more the money agreed in the MoU for work permit and air tickets.

Malaysia is reportedly facing a shortage of workers in five 3D (dirty, dangerous and difficult) sectors, namely plantation, manufacturing, construction, agriculture and services due to poor response from the locals.

About 600,000 Bangladeshi migrants work in the Southeast Asian country.

Many of them returned home at the onset of the pandemic last year, but could not go back to work in Malaysia as the country is allowing only its citizens to fly in from Bangladesh.

In the first four months of fiscal 2021-22, more than 250,000 Bangladeshis found jobs abroad, according to Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment secretary.

In November alone, over 100,000 Bangladeshis left the country for work overseas, he had said at a media briefing on Friday. “If this trend continues, we hope 700,000 to 800,000 people will be employed abroad this fiscal year.”

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher