July 19, 2024, 11:32 pm

Rajib Kanti Roy

2024-06-06 13:43:41 BdST

IRREGULARITIES IN MALAYSIA MIGRATIONVictims have little chance to fly soon, get full refund

The luckless Malaysia bound aspirant workers who couldn’t go to the Southeast Asian country by the end of deadline despite depositing money, getting visas and receiving other necessary approvals, now will have more tough times with no opportunities of reaching destination and getting back the total amount of money.

Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail on Tuesday dismissed the possibility of allowing fresh Bangladeshi workers in his country stating about rejection of Bangladesh’s request to extend the deadline for workers’ entrance, while migration experts see no way of refunding full money deposited by the workers.

Commenting on the issue, migration expert Asif Munier said, “The workers unable to go to Malaysia have pushed into a deep uncertainty. Actually they will never get back the total amount of their deposited money.”

“Migration to any country in our context involves so many people. There is no exception in this case as well. The money workers paid has spread into different hands and therefore, it will not be possible to pay back full money to them,” he remarked.

The former International Organization for Migration official also said that now if these workers can be sent to Malaysia that would be the best solution, otherwise, the hapless workers wouldn’t be able to do anything against the people involved in the process from the village brokers to recruiting agency owners.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Shofiqur Rahman Chowdhury once again said they have requested the Malaysian government to review the deadline for Bangladeshi workers.

He said this while talking to reporters after a meeting with Malaysian high commissioner in Dhaka Haznah Md Hashim at his office on Wednesday.

The Malaysian high commissioner in Dhaka, however, said her country hires workers from 15 countries and the deadline has been set for all the countries. So Malaysia wants to maintain this policy for all the countries.

Workers who have failed to go to Malaysia by 31 May despite receiving visas, permission for employment and Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) clearance can't get the chances to fly only because of scarcity of air tickets 

Some of them mortgaged their farmland or sold cows, while others borrowed from banks, cooperatives or from their friends and relatives to pay Tk4,50,000 to Tk6,50,000 to recruiting agencies.

Their only dream was to get a decently-paid job in Malaysia to improve the living standards of their families which have been dashed to the ground and now being unable to reach brokers and agency owners they are finding way to skip the lenders.

Most of them relied on brokers once the Malaysian labour market reopened. They arranged for their passports, underwent medical checkups and so on. They all made down payment through agencies or middlemen. These payments have no receipts.

As per trustable sources, a number of Bangladeshi recruiting agencies paid around Tk1,15,000 to their Malaysian partners for per visa.

An agency owner, wishing not to be named, told this correspondent that they are not sure that whether they would be able to get back this money. Asked if it is the case then how workers can expect refund, the agency owner said, “I really don’t know.”

Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) Secretary General Ali Haider Chowdhury said they would try to ensure that the workers who couldn’t go to Malaysia despite depositing money get their money back.

“We have discussed the issue with the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment. The ministry formed a committee. We are ready to assist them. Together we will make a list of workers who failed to go to Malaysia and a list of agencies which have failed to send workers. Then we will contact them and try to ensure that workers get back their money,” he said.

“If agencies don’t refund money ministry will take legal measures and we will take organisational step,” he added.

When asked that whether the refund would be based on the actual amount of deposited money or the amount the government fixed as the migration cost for Malaysia, the BAIRA secretary general couldn’t give a clear answer.

Asif Munier said no matter what the ministry or BAIRA say aspirant workers will never get back their total amount of money.

“When influential lawmakers who make policies on migration get involved in manpower export and control the whole process, you have less room to expect anything in favour of the deceived aspirant workers,” he added.

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