After a hiatus of more than three years, Malaysia officially reopened its labor market to Bangladeshi workers for five years until December 2026.
To meet the growing demand for workers following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Southeast Asian country has started hiring workers from potential countries and, as part of this initiative, the Malaysian cabinet decided on December 10 to resume the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers.
Expatriate Welfare Minister Imran Ahmed and Malaysian Human Resources Minister Seri Saravanan Murugan signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard at 11 a.m. in Malaysia on Sunday.
Under the new agreement, Malaysian employers will cover all costs of Bangladeshi workers, including immigration fees, visa fees, health examination fees, insurance fees, costs of Covid-19 test and quarantine-related fees, reads a press release from the Expatriate Welfare Department.
In addition, employers can hire Malaysian recruiting agents at their own expense and they will be responsible for ensuring quality accommodation, medical care and the welfare of workers, he added.
Earlier on Sunday, a four-member team led by Minister Imran arrived in Kuala Lumpur to sign the agreement.
After signing the agreement, Malaysian Minister Saravanan said in a statement: “The inking of the MoU should meet the urgent need for foreign workers.”
He also said the MoU outlined the responsibilities of the two countries, including those related to Malaysian employers and Bangladeshi workers, as well as the duties of private employment agencies in the two countries, Bernama reports. Malaysian National News Agency.
“The implementation of the MoU would be regulated by a Joint Working Group (JWG) made up of members from the two countries,” added the Minister.
The new agreement opened the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in all sectors, including plantations, agriculture, manufacturing, services, mining, construction and domestic services.
Secretary for Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Malaysia, Mr Golam Sarwar, Director General of the Office of Employment and Manpower Training Work (BMET) Md Shahidul Alam, and Deputy Secretary General of the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources, Datu Muhammad Khair Ajman bin Mohammed Anwar, was also present at the signing ceremony.
According to the MoU, employers will select Bangladeshi agents in accordance with Malaysian government rules from the list of legitimate recruitment agencies sent by Bangladesh. The MoU further states that the Malaysian government will ensure transparency and fairness in this regard.
The process of recruiting new workers is expected to begin shortly after the necessary formalities have been completed.
According to the press release of the ministry, the two countries acknowledged on this occasion that the Bangladeshi workers contribute to the economic development of Malaysia as well as to the development of Bangladesh.
The agreement further protected the rights and dignity of workers in accordance with the national laws, rules, regulations, policies and guidelines of both countries, he added.
Abul Bashar, former president of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruitment Agencies (Baira), told TBS: “Under the new MoU, migration costs would not exceed the range of Tk 80,000 to Tk 1. , 20 lakh Tk. If the employers take care of the plane tickets, the cost would be The cost of migration was around 4-4.5 lakh Tk. ”
He also said that before the market closed, around 10,000 to 15,000 workers traveled to Malaysia every month.
“Now some 20,000 to 30,000 workers will migrate to Malaysia in the coming months as employers need large numbers of foreign workers,” he said.
Malaysia is home to around eight Bangladeshi lakhs, according to an unofficial estimate.
The country suspended the hiring of Bangladeshi workers in September 2018 due to allegations of professional misconduct in the recruitment process and high recruitment costs.
Mohammad Rasheduzzaman, deputy personal secretary to the expatriate minister, told TBS: “There is no decision yet on how many recruiting agencies will send workers.”
Commenting on recruiting agency unions, the expatriate minister said on Friday: “I am not in favor of any union sending workers to Malaysia. We want to send workers to a process where all recruiting agencies can participate. , not some specific agencies. ”
In line with the Malaysian cabinet decision of December 10, the Malaysian minister said on Sunday that standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the entry of foreign workers had been refined and improved.
He said the SOP covered four phases, namely pre-release, on arrival, post-arrival (quarantine) and post-quarantine.