20 April 2015, The Daily Star

Bangladeshi migrant workers pay the highest recruitment costs in the world, the World Bank said in a report.

Citing a recent survey by the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development, the WB said worker-paid recruitment costs averaged $1,955 in Kuwait with the Bangladeshis paying the highest, ranging between $1,675 and $5,154.

Almost 10 million people use regular channels to migrate in search of employment every year. A large number of them pay illegal recruitment fees to recruitment agents.

“Recruitment costs paid by migrant workers to recruitment agents, on top of the fees paid by the employers, are a major drain on poor migrants’ incomes and remittance,” according to the Migration and Development Brief released in Washington recently.

A 2009 Bangladesh Household Remittance Survey conducted by the International Organisation for Migration found that more than half of the migrants paid over $2,000 in recruitment fees. Fees paid to smugglers for crossing international borders, a reasonable proxy for the black market recruitment fees, tend to be even more exorbitant.

For example, according to the European Union, smuggling fees to Europe ranged from $5,000 in the case of Vietnamese workers to more than $15,000 for Bangladeshi workers in 2013.

On top of these direct fees paid to recruitment agents, migrant workers are often subject to usurious interest rates of over 50 percent on loans taken to cover the costs of migration, the study said.



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