Porimol Palma
12:00 AM, December 11, 2016 / Daily Star

A nexus between the employers of migrant workers overseas and illegal manpower brokers there is jacking up the migration cost of Bangladeshi workers.

Recruiting agents and illegal brokers in the Gulf and Southeast Asian regions “buy” work visas from overseas employers and then “sell” those either to licensed recruiting agents or illegal brokers in Bangladesh making a huge profit.

Aspirant migrant workers end up paying for all this.

They spend a huge amount of money, mostly obtained by taking out loans on high interest rates or selling their assets, for the migration. And when they reach the foreign land, they discover their wages make it difficult for them to repay the loans.

It often puts them in a cycle of debt.

For instance, in the case of Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh has set Tk 1.65 lakh in migration cost for each worker, including fees for passport, recruiting agents, government charges, and airfare.

A Bangladeshi recruiting agent said when he contacted companies in Saudi Arabia regarding demand for workers, they told him that they had “sold” the work visas to Bangladeshi brokers there for Tk 3 lakh to Tk 4 lakh each.

“The work visas are not something that can be legally sold or bought. But, that’s what is happening,” the agent told The Daily Star.

As a result, the total migration cost of the jobseekers is now between Tk 5 lakh and 6 lakh, the agent said.

The recruitment agent said they have to “buy” every single Saudi work visa for about Tk 3 lakh.



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