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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 155
February 6, 2010

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Law event

Bring manpower mediators under formal framework

Speakers at a consultation observed that informal facilitators play a crucial role in the labour recruitment process of Bangladesh. In this context they urged that measures should be taken to bring them under a formal framework. These observations were made at a consultation organised by Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) at the PIB premises in the city on 31 January, 2010. Presenting RMMRU's research findings on the Role of Informal Facilitators in the Labour Recruitment Process, Dr C R Abrar stated that these facilitators commonly known as mediators provide information to aspirant migrants. They also act as intermediaries between the registered recruiting agencies and the aspirant migrants. Due to their limited reach in recruiting migrants, the registered agents depend on the informal facilitators, who in their turn, use their social network at the grassroots to recruit workers. The research was conducted by RMMRU under the auspices of the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty.

Speaking as the chief guest of the event Mr. Elias Ahmed, Secretary, Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE), urged aspirant migrants to be more assertive in their relationship with recruiting agents and informal intermediaries. He stressed that all stakeholders of migration process should strive to make sure that the migrants should be gainfully employed during their stay abroad. He observed before taking migration decision migrants should have at their disposal adequate information about the country of employment, work and living conditions. The Secretary also wondered why Bangladeshi recruiting agencies have to buy visa when their Nepalese and other South Asian counterparts do not have to do so.

Mr. Khorshed Alam Chowdhury, DG, BMET, deplored the fact that existence of tiers of intermediaries and trading of visa by Bangladeshi recruiters are contributing to hiking up of the cost of migration in Bangladesh. Mr. Chowdhury informed that from the 7th of February 2010 the government is introducing SMART card that would contain vital information about migrants and will help curb irregular migration.

Dr. Nurul Islam of BMET emphasised the need for large scale awareness campaign engaging both print and electronic media so that migrants can protect their interests against unscrupulous recruiting agents and subagents. Mr. Abul Kalam, Deputy Secretary, of MEWOE informed that the government in collaboration with civil society organisations is considering revision of rules with regard to recruitment process. The BAIRA representative, Mr. Shamim Ahmed Chowdhury, urged the aspirant migrants to directly contact the recruiting agencies in their effort to go overseas. He informed that a code of conduct for recruiting agencies is being framed by his organisation.

Informal facilitators present at the consultation regretted that their contributions are not socially recognised and they did not have enough protection when recruiting agents fail to deliver on their promises. They claimed that when migration efforts fail they are the one's who have to face the wrath of migrants and their families and not the recruiting agents. To establish their bona fide the sub-agents demanded identity cards from their respective recruiting agencies.

The consultation was attended by members of international agencies, and a large number of returnee migrants, informal facilitators, chairpersons of union parishads of Tangail and Comilla and NGO activists and researchers.


Complied by Law Desk.



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