Bangladeshi migrant workers become victims of exploitation by different stakeholders including private recruiting agencies; not of government corruption, claimed Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain yesterday.
The workers often become victim of exploitation by their own relatives and private recruiting agencies while making payments for their visas, he said.
The minister made the observations at a press briefing at the ministry in the capital; two days after Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) in its survey report mentioned that "labour migration tops the list in corruption rate" this year.
The report said, 77 percent households that received services from the sector became victims of corrupt practices.
Due to bribery and irregularities, a household had to pay on an average Tk 1, 99,676 in excess for getting overseas jobs, it said.
Talking about the report, Mosharraf said it did not mention any involvement of government in the irregularities.
Rather it focused on the irregularities which occurred at individual level, he said.
The minister, however, admitted that the ministry does not have much scope to check such irregularities, except verifying validity of visas.
To reduce irregularities in the sector, the ministry has cancelled the licence of some 65 private recruiting agencies in the last four years as they were found involved in irregularities, he said.
Mentioning that the ministry was trying to break the control of the brokers and recruiting agencies down, he said the workers who become victim of exploitation and betrayal often do not cooperate with the ministry's agencies concerned.
Mentioning the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysian government for sending workers there, Mosharraf said the government became successful in the initiative.
“We welcomed the report of TIB and hoped that the people will be conscious in spending any extra money,” he added.
Expatriates' Welfare Secretary Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan and Manpower Employment and Training Bureau Director General Begum Shamsoon Nahar were also present.