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Bangladesh - World wide - May 17, 2023

Foreign jobs drop 28pc in April

Industry Desk: Complications in the hiring process in both source and destination countries have slowed the overseas employment of Bangladeshi workers.
According to data from the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), the outflow of migration from Bangladesh dropped by around 28% in April this year compared to the previous month. Overseas employment maintained a steady growth for the previous five months.
Around 78,833 workers went abroad in April, which is 24% down from a year ago, and is still higher than pre-Covid levels, according to labour recruiters. They said they are not “worried” about the decline and expect the complications in the hiring process to be resolved in the coming months.
This decline was attributed to a decrease in labour recruitment in Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Before the pandemic, Bangladesh used to send abroad an average of 60,000-70,000 workers every month.
Malaysia recruited more than 28,000 workers in March this year, but the number dropped to 18,000 in the following month.
Similarly, compared to March, at least 7,000, 6,000, and 3,000 fewer workers went to the UAE, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, respectively, in April.
“Actually, the fluctuation of 10,000-20,000 people is nothing to worry about. It indicates that in some months our process is slow, while in other months it is fast. Let’s see how many workers go by the end of the year,” Shamim Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, immediate-past secretary general of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) told.
Citing an example, he said, “Now the visa process has slowed down a lot at the Saudi embassy. There is sometimes an opportunity to submit passports only one day a week. In such cases, they may not accept more than 10 books (passports). That is why many visas are not issued despite high demand.”
The recruiter further said that the Saudi embassy has announced the introduction of e-visa. Once implemented, an unlimited number of visas may be issued, and the normal rate of workers going there may resume next month.
Ali Haider Chowdhury, secretary general of Baira, however, said that demand for foreign workers in Middle Eastern countries is on the decline. “We sent six lakh people to Saudi Arabia last year. Will we be able to send a similar number of people this year too? Demand is low now.”
“Even the verification of worker demand documents from the Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh faces delays,” he told, adding, “It takes 5-8 weeks for people to go abroad from India, Pakistan and Nepal, while Bangladeshis require 10-12 weeks.”
Meanwhile, demand for workers in the construction sector of government projects in Dubai has decreased, according to officials.
That is why the visa process is slow there. There are some people going into the service sector for semi-government and private sectors, they added.
Remittance inflow has also slowed. According to the central bank, Bangladesh received $1.68 billion in April, which is 16.28% down from $2.01 billion a year ago.
MiGRAMS slows migration to Malaysia
Meanwhile, the process in Malaysia has slowed down due to the MiGRAMS top-up, according to recruiters.
The top-up e-wallet, the only system available under the MiGRAMS portal to pay workers’ registration fees for Bangladeshis heading to Malaysia, has been out of operation for the last two months, effectively preventing dozens of agencies from exporting manpower.
MiGRAMS is an online portal where every aspirant worker needs to be registered to undergo health screening by paying a 100 ringgit registration fee.
Thus, many recruiting agencies are being deprived, despite having adequate demand for workers.
Though Malaysian employers supplied demand orders for around three lakh workers, only half the number were recruited till April.
Meanwhile, Md Tipu Sultan, joint secretary of Baira, blamed the syndication system of recruiters sending workers to Malaysia for the slow hiring process.
Currently, only 100 agencies are allowed to send workers to Malaysia.

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