Migrants must be briefed on job contract before flying: Govt

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 20:02, Dec 07, 2019 | Updated : 20:11, Dec 07, 2019

Female migrant workers have to be briefed by the recruiting agency to have a better understanding on her employment contract or she would be barred from flying aboard, says a senior government official.
"We are formulating new regulations for the female migrants with provisions making it mandatory for recruiting agencies to brief workers on their employment contract and terms of agreements," Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Md Salim Reza told a discussion in Dhaka on Saturday (Dec 7).
The senior official said a circular would be issued on the matter on Sunday (Dec 8).
The move came amid allegations of Bangladeshi female workers suffering physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their employers in Middle East countries, especially Saudi Arabia.
Recently, two female workers returned from Saudi Arabia after the Kingdom police rescued them when video clips of them seeking help to escape physical and mental abuse at the hands of their employer went viral.
The expatriates secretary, however, said allegation of abuse often comes from several particular places of Saudi Arabia where Bangladesh has moved to restrict from sending (female) workers.
Explaining how the government would ensure the initiative, Reza said workers would face tests at 3-5 places.
"For immigration clearance, we will verify whether a worker has any knowledge [on the employment contract]. Workers will be checked at the airport. If the recruitment agency fail their responsibility or the worker fails to show the employment contact she will be offloaded from the flight," he added.
Reza said the government has moved to bring the Saudi Arabian recruiting agencies that deal with Bangladeshi migrants workers under its radar.
"A registration [for the Saudi agencies] will be opened at our mission in bid to blacklist them in case we receive any allegation," he said.
35 percent of the returning female workers are victims of sexual and physical abuse, while 43 percent received wages irregularly. RAJIB DHAR/File PhotoACTION AGAINST LOCAL AGENCIES
The senior official said local recruiting agencies that send workers abroad without proper training and medical tests will face stern action.
"We have already revoked the licence of 100 agencies," Reza said before adding those would send workers properly would get the award.
He said the government also moved to classify the recruiting agencies which are likely to finish by next month.
Since 2015, over 5,000 Bangladeshi female migrant workers have returned from Saudi Arabia amidst allegations of inhumane abuse and torture against their employers there.
According to BRAC’S Migration Programme, at least 1,500 women returned home from Saudi Arabia in 2018 alone.
At the moment, some 146 female workers are staying at different safe homes in Saudi Arabia and 34 others are at the deportation centres, Reza told a media briefing on Dec 2.
Earlier in September, the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment found that 35 percent of the returning female workers among a group of 111, were victims of sexual and physical abuse, while 43 percent received wages irregularly.
The report identified 11 fundamental reasons why Bangladeshi migrant women fled their workplace, which include physical and sexual abuse, inadequate food, no leave, and irregular salaries.