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    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    The present economy of Bangladesh not being in a state to absorb the full range

    of available professional; Technical, Skilled, Semi Skilled and Unskilled

    manpower. In addition to fill the domestic demand of manpower, there is a need

    to find employment abroad for a sizeable number of them. There are also a

    number of foreign countries that are in need of importing manpower from labor

    surplus countries like Bangladesh. In this context, Bangladesh is being

    increasingly considered by the Foreign Employers as one of the major sources to

    cater to their growing manpower needs. Amongst the manpower exporting

    countries of the region Bangladesh offers the most competitive salary, terms &

    conditions of service. The Bangladeshi workers are proverbially loyal, religious,

    disciplined, hard working and have rare quality of adaptability to new situations.

    With the advancement of science & Technology all over the world & sharing of

    the same globally, the need for professionally & technically qualified people since

    been increased and its movement from one country to other also increased. So

    long the developed world depends on the developing and under developed

    countries for workers to perform mainly odd jobs but now a days they are

    growingly depending on them for High-Tech personnel in all sectors of their

    economy especially in IT sector. In the backdrop of such a situation, manpower

    surplus countries in the world are coming forward to invest much more for human

    resources development and transferring their manpower where there is a need

    for them. Bangladesh being a manpower surplus country has put due emphasis

    on human resource development. Bangladesh is able to supply almost all the

    categories of work force to cater to the needs of a modern economy. It is now

    connected with Information super highway technology through worldwide sub-

    marine cable network. To meet the requirements of the skilled and unskilled

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    workers in both home and abroad, many employment agencies developed in

    government and private sectors. Here we will try to highlight regarding

    Employment Agencies developed in Bangladesh.

    CONCEPTUAL FRAME WORK

    Employment

    Employment is generally seen as the means of sustaining life and of meeting

    basic human needs. But it is also an activity, through which individuals affirm

    their own identity, receives satisfaction and makes fullest development of their

    potentials and skills, thereby making great contribution to common well-being.

    Therefore, employment is not to be seen only as access to any job, rather access

    to full job of acceptable quality, productive in nature and freely chosen. All those

    who work have rights at work. Every worker enjoys certain rights irrespective of

    his or her type of employment, whether in organized or not, in formal or informal

    economy, at home, in community or in the voluntary sector.

    Migration

    Short-term international labor migration is defined as voluntary movement of

    people from one country to another for a certain period to achieve a better life or

    to earn a better livelihood. Employment is a major avenue through which

    migrants aspire to attain a better living. In the light of the four pillars,

    employment, right at work, social protection and social dialogue; the scope of

    voluntary international migration in creating decent work can be analyzed.

    The first indicator therefore may be access to full employment, to earn a

    reasonable income for maintenance of decent living and flourishing of creative

    energy of individuals. The second indicator would be that rights that are

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    recognized for individuals at work and the extent to which he/she enjoys those

    rights in practice. The third indicator would constitute of social protections that

    are at place. Finally, the fourth indicator would be the available mechanisms

    operational for employers and employees to negotiate and protect rights at work.

    Domestic Market Oriented Garments Sector (DMGS)

    DMGS sector plays an important role in the economy in Bangladesh. It provides

    employment to a vast segment of craft persons in rural and urban areas and

    meet domestic demand for garments products and capable of generating

    substantial foreign exchange for the country. Currently, domestic garments

    sectors contribute substantially to employment generation and export.

    TYPEAND NATUREOF BANGLADESHIWORKERS

    Bangladeshi workers are generally loyal, reasonable, dedicated, reliable and

    hard working. They respond admirably well to kind treatment and just dealings

    but at the same time they are conscious of their self respect. They are religious

    and are proud of their heritage & culture.

    They are quick in their uptake and are always willing to learn and acquire more

    skills so increase their productivity. They are adaptable and can adjust quickly to

    climatic and socio environmental conditions.

    Bangladeshi workers are physically and psychologically best suited to Middle

    East and South East countries. The performance of Bangladeshi workers in

    these countries will vouch for their qualities and capacity. In fact they have tested

    and are maintaining a record of which we are proud and the Employers consider

    them as the best.

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    Civil Society Organizations

    Various civil society organizations have been tapped in order to understand their

    level of involvement with domestic and migrant workers such as Legal Aid and

    Other Organization etc.

    CODEOF CONDUCTOF EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES

    In September 1985, the government announced a Code of Conduct for

    Recruitment Agents (No. S-XII/M-32/85-801). With a decade of experience in

    manpower export, the government felt it necessary to develop such a code to

    bring about order and discipline in this sector.

    The code of Conduct is divided into three categories of codes to be followed by

    the employment agents. The Code provides that the agents would:

    select the technically and medically qualified candidates only;

    make a sincere attempt to select job-seekers from the Manpower Bank as

    far as practicable;

    facilitate conduct of recruitment test and medical examination in the best

    possible manner and honor the terms and conditions with the Principal in

    letter and spirit;

    enter into agreement with those principals who will employ the workers

    and honor the terms and conditions and shall not render services or any

    other benefits to the employers which are not permitted by the Ordinance

    and Rules.

    In there duty to workers the agents were to:

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    provide correct information to the workers through advertisement and

    other means;

    pass on all available service benefits to workers;

    charge only fees authorized by the government and shall not

    overcharge in any manner;

    assist contractual workers in all possible ways during their period of

    employment overseas; and

    promptly settle any claims that may be due to the workers

    In there duty to the country the recruiting agents were:

    to uphold the national ideals and safeguard national interests in their

    dealings with foreigners in connection with their business;

    to refrain from doing or saying anything that tarnish the image of the

    country abroad;

    not to accept terms and conditions of employment which were below

    the prescribed minimum requirement; and

    shall never attempt to secure demand by such means as are harmfulto the interests of the country, fellow agents and workers.

    MANAGING EMPLOYMENT

    Labor recruitment from Bangladesh involves various ministries and agencies of

    government, private recruiting agents, their local and international intermediaries,

    potential migrants and their families

    Ministries

    The Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment, Ministry of

    Home Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry

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    of Civil Aviation and Tourism are the four important ministries which deal with

    international labor migration. The power of implementing the rules framed in

    2002 under the Emigration Ordinance 1982 and accordingly, promoting,

    monitoring and regulating the migration sector are vested with the new ministry.

    The activities of the ministry concentrated in two broad areas. First is to create

    employment in and the second is to solve problems of expatriates and ensure

    their welfare (GoB, 2003).

    Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET)

    Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) was established in the

    year 1976 by the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh as an

    attached department of the then Ministry of Manpower Development and Social

    Welfare with specific purpose of meeting the manpower requirement of the

    country and for export of manpower as well. BMET is engaged for over all

    planning and implementation of the strategies for proper utilization of manpower

    of the country.

    Since its inception until 1984, the Bureau has arranged overseas employment for

    significant number of workers in different categories. More than 700 private

    recruiting agencies are working in the field of manpower export under regulatory

    control of BMET. The Bureau issues emigration on clearance against all

    demands approved by the Ministry. Moreover, the BMET is working as the

    regulatory body in all activities related to manpower export including renewal of

    licenses of the recruiting agents.

    There are 12 Technical Training Institutes under the Bureau to offer trainings in

    different trades for overseas job seekers.

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    Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies

    History & Background

    Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) is one of

    the largest trade bodies in Bangladesh affiliated with the Federation of

    Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the apex body on

    Trade & Industry, established in 1984 with a view to catering the needs of the

    licensed recruiting agencies who are engaging themselves in promoting

    manpower market abroad and deploy a good number of unemployed

    Bangladeshi manpower in various foreign countries after imparting necessary

    training.

    Currently BAIRA has about 700 Government Approved Recruiting Agents as its

    member.

    Achievements

    Manpower is one of the major national resources of Bangladesh. About 35 million

    people constitute this vast reservoir of manpower. Fortunately Bangladesh is

    steadily turning her manpower into an asset through training and skill

    development with a view to meeting the needs of a modern economy.

    It is not possible for Bangladesh to absorb the full range of available unskilled,

    semi-skilled and professional manpower within the country in an appropriate

    manner and hence the need to find employment opportunities for them abroad till

    her economy could absorb them locally. There are also a number of foreign

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    countries who are in need of importing manpower from other countries. Today

    Bangladesh is considered as a good source.

    With a modes beginning in 1976, Bangladesh has, by now, become a notable

    exporter of manpower. Between 1976 to 2001 a total of more than three million

    Bangladeshis have been able to secure employment in foreign countries,

    particularly in countries of the Middle East and Malaysia, Singapore of south

    Korea through the members of BAIRA. The Bangladeshis, currently working

    abroad, range from domestic aides to Atomic Scientists. The main objective of

    the BAIRA members is to ensure supply of quality manpower at a minimum cost

    within the time schedule given by the employers.

    With a view to ensuring the financial security of migrating workers BAIRA, has

    already undertaken two Insurance Schemes: one for the workers before their

    departure and the other is for their families left behind, through BAIRA Life

    Insurance Company Limited, an affiliated organ of BAIRA.

    In addition, BAIRA is going to set up a Bank to ensure quick and easy monitory

    transaction service to the members of BAIRA and the migrating workers, in

    addition to the public in general.

    A sophisticated and highly technical & vocational training center is coming up

    shortly to impart training to our youths in modern developed technology including

    Information Technology (IT), to cater to the need of the country and our valued

    overseas employers. To ensure proper medical check-up of the migrant workers

    BAIRA is setting up a modern Medical Testing Center with elaborate facilities.

    These will be in addition to the existing facilities already available with some of

    the reputed members if BAIRA.

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    BAIRA arranges short term foreign language course & briefing sessions before

    allowing the selected workers to emigrate.

    Aims and Objective of BAIRA

    BAIRA has been working for its members with the following objectives:

    1. To promote and protect the rights and interests of the members of the

    association in particular and the trade, commerce and industries of

    Bangladesh in general;

    2. To promote, advise and assist in the business activities of the members of

    the association, to make all out efforts for providing Bangladeshis with job

    abroad;

    3. To co-ordinate the activities of the licensed recruiting agents approved by

    the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh for arranging

    employment's of Bangladesh abroad and to create unity amongst the

    licensed recruiting agents;

    4. To develop an understanding and awareness of Government notification,

    rules and regulations regarding the overseas employment of manpower

    amongst the member recruiting agents;

    5. To advise Government to amend, alter or modify orders in this regard from

    time to time keeping the interest of the country;

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    6. To take all steps by lawful means that may be necessary for promoting,

    supporting or opposing legislation or any other action effecting the general

    interests of member recruiting agents;

    7. To establish close and intimate liaison with foreign missions in

    Bangladesh with a view to provide employment of Bangladeshi citizens in

    their respective countries;

    8. To keep in touch with Bangladesh Embassies or other reliable agencies

    for creating job opportunities for Bangladeshi citizens in different

    countries;

    9. To invite delegations from countries having potential for employment of

    skilled and un-skilled Bangladeshi workers with a view to acquainting them

    with the vast hard working manpower available in Bangladesh, after

    getting prior permission form the Government;

    10.To assist Government and non-Government delegations coming to

    Bangladesh to select appropriate manpower by cultivating close liaison

    with them;

    11.To send delegation from the association abroad for creating proper

    awareness amongst the intending employers about skilled and un-skilled

    workers of Bangladesh;

    12.To print brochures, booklets and leaflets of skilled workers of Bangladesh

    and circulate these abroad with the help of Government;

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    13.To make efforts to ensure distribution of all privileges and facilities to all

    member recruiting agents fairly and equitably;

    14.To distribute all offers received by the association for employment in the

    private and the public sectors equitably amongst the member-recruiting

    agents;

    15.To create association's own Trade Institute in order to assist each and

    every member-recruiting agent appropriate and capable manpower;

    16.To establish association's own training center to assist and offer training to

    all candidates selected for employment abroad on manners, customs and

    foreign languages etc;

    17.To assist all member-recruiting agents about rules, regulations,

    procedures, visa entry permits by procuring them from different countries

    and making them available to the members;

    18.To make all efforts and take all steps to remove difficulties and bottlenecks

    faced by the member-agents;

    19.To remove difficulties and inconveniences of the workers sent abroad by

    the member-recruiting agents ;

    20.To make efforts to remove complaints and misunderstanding amongst the

    foreign employers about manpower sent by member-recruiting agents;

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    21.To maintain regular liaison by visits of responsible executives to overseas

    employers and their Bangladeshi employees;

    22.To organize welfare measures for the Bangladeshi workers abroad and

    their beneficiaries at home;

    23.To encourage the Bangladeshi workers working abroad for remit

    maximum of their foreign exchange earning to the country through regular

    official channels;

    24.To encourage and advise the Bangladeshi migrants abroad and their

    beneficiaries at home for investments of investments of their foreign

    exchanges in the productive pursuits in the country;

    25.To undertake initiatives for repatriation and payment of compensation to

    the persons wrongly selected and sent abroad;

    26.To provide assistance for bringing the dead body of Bangladesh workers

    to the country or for its proper disposal, as the case may be, in co-

    operation with foreign employers;

    27.To obtain labor laws of the labor importing countries and to disseminate

    the information of those laws among the Bangladeshi migrant workers;

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    28.To fix annual target of business for each member agency and to help them

    to achieve the same;

    29. To monitor the monthly activities for the member agencies to the Ministry

    of Labor and Manpower, Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training

    and Bangladesh Manpower Planning Center through a pro forma to be

    prepared by Bangladesh Manpower Planning Center;

    30.To submit annual report to the Ministry of Labor and Employment by each

    member agency dealing with their total activities during every calendar

    year.

    31.To report to Ministry, Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training and

    Bangladesh Manpower Planning Center the amount of fees actually

    charged from job seekers of various categories;

    32. To explore job market in different parts of the world in addition to the

    countries in the Middle East;

    33.To explore job opportunities for skilled and professional personnel as well;

    34.To set-up branch offices as an when required in different parts of the

    country & the globe with a view to fulfilling the aims and objects of the

    association;

    To do all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the

    above objects.

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    Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited

    To earn the much needed foreign exchange by way of exporting skilled &

    unskilled manpower the Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh

    established Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited (BOESL) in

    1984: This is the only Company created by the Government to operate in healthy

    Competition with about 600 private recruiting agencies in the country in this

    sector. BOESL is dedicated to ensure supply of quality workers within shortest

    time span and minimum migration. Profit making is not motto of the company.

    The main purpose of creating this company is to provide honest, efficient and

    quick services to the valued foreign employers in the matter of recruitment and

    deployment of manpower.

    All categories of personnel exported for employment are broadly classified into

    four groups as:

    (1) Un-skilled (2) Semi-skilled(3) Skilled (4) Professional

    Welfare Association of Repatriated Bangladeshi Employees

    Welfare Association of Repatriated Bangladeshi Employees (WARBE) was

    formed by a group of repatriated employees of Bangladesh. It has been

    dealing with the issue of migrant workers since 1997, keeping the focus on

    the UN convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and

    Members of their Families. The objectives of WARBE include (a)

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    empowering migrant workers to become an interest articulating and

    advocacy group in influencing policies of the government for the welfare of

    migrant workers; (b) hold pre and post departure AIDS awareness

    programme and mobilize the community to develop a tolerant and

    supportive environment for the persons affected with AIDS and (c) work as

    an information pool from migrant workers to use them in establishing their

    rights and building awareness against forgery.

    So far, WARBE has been engaged in building up its organizational

    structure. A number of Thana Committee has been formed in and around

    Dhaka. The organization has been observing the international Solidarity

    Day for Migrant Workers and other social events as part of building

    contacts with returnee migrants.

    Bangladesh Migrant Centre

    One of the few organizations actively working for Bangladeshi migrant

    workers both at home and abroad is the Bangladesh Migrant Centre

    (BMC). BMC was established in South Korea a few years ago in the

    industrial city of Ansan in order to provide support for the Bangladeshi

    migrant workers in Korea. It has been working in an organized way to look

    after the migrant workers. BMC also monitors if the workers are treated on

    the basis of labour law, labour standard law, labour protection law and

    human rights law of Korea. BMC in Korea is closely linked with the Joint

    Committee of Migrant workers in Korea (JCMK) and Ansan migrant Shelter

    (AMS).

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    Individual Contract

    Almost 55 to 60 percent of recruitment is conducted through individual initiatives

    and social networks. Usually persons already deployed in the host counties

    arrange visas for their friends and relatives through their own contacts.

    Sometimes these visas are sold to the interested parties. The cost of migration

    and illicit practices are less when work visas are procured through individual

    migrants working abroad (Siddiqui 2002).

    RELATIONSHIPBETWEENEMPLOYERSANDRECRUITERS

    The relationship of recruiters of different employment agencies with employers

    may be summarized in the following format:

    First, most of the medium and small employment agencies depend on the

    business, that is, they are not in a position to arrange work permit unless

    someone offers them permits. Permits may be obtained from various sources,

    e.g. friends of relatives of the owners of recruiting agencies; someone offering to

    sell work permit to them; people bringing in work permit with them from the place

    of work at foreign countries and asking to process those permits for a

    commission, and so forth.

    Secondly, the employments agencies have only informal contacts at the

    countries of migration through relatives, friends, etc. and are not in a position to

    find out business. These agencies do not have much information on demands for

    migrant workers. In fact quite a few employment agency representatives, in spite

    of their efforts, they havent been able to travel to any of the countries to which

    they have sent people.

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    RECOMMENDATIONS

    Employment agency is a business which is mostly derided, instead of

    encouragement and support which they deserve. The ill reputation of manpower

    business may have discouraged involvement of young and energetic persons

    with high levels of skills in to this arena, making this sector dependent on others.

    As for official institutions, the present role and contribution of BOESL is certainly

    not encouraging. Combination of service and regulatory functions in BMET is

    another issue that attracts scrutinizing attention. In the backdrop of almost 700

    private recruiting agencies, performing of similar functions by BOESL, probably

    at a much high per capita cost, may need to be scrutinized.

    Upgrading of the training institutions, following the recently introduced practice of

    uniformity of courses and syllabuses may need further scrutiny. These are not

    difficult tasks and can be performed by the existing strength of personnel with

    financial and other inputs.

    Information about jobs abroad, terms and conditions, includes skill and expertise

    necessary, requirements for various kinds of jobs etc. (ie. Job

    descriptions/qualifications) are not readily available. However, this information is,

    in fact available in scattered manner with various offices and institutions,

    including government agencies.

    For increasing access to employment

    The government agency and private sector needs to commit adequate resources

    to domestic and overseas employment.

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    Human resources of Bangladesh have to be trained and marketed as per

    projection plans of development work and concomitant labour needs. These

    projection plans need to be collected and analyzed on a routine basis.

    To ensure equal access of man and woman to overseas employment,

    government restrictions on migration on unskilled and semi-skilled women below

    the age of 35 should be rescinded.

    The existing training institutes of BMET need to be upgraded to increase skilled

    migration. BMET also needs to extend their training outreach through joint

    ventures with NGOs and private training institutes. In this respect BMET needs to

    disseminate information on labour market to the organizations that provide

    training and NGOs. To ensure access of poor, both men and women to such

    training, special scholarship programmes have to be designed. All these require

    major resource allocation.

    Vocational training should be incorporated in mainstream primary and secondary

    level curricula. To increase the communication skills, English should be

    introduced as a second language from the first grade.

    Enhancing the Scope of Social Dialogue

    Expert bodies and civil society organizations may organize consultation meetings

    with local trade unions to familiarize them with workers issues particularly on the

    exploitation of workers and on nature of violation of the human rights and labour

    rights of workers in organization both at home and abroad. In this regard a

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    linkage should be established between trade union and workers association so

    that they can complement each other.

    In order to reduce fraudulent practices experienced by the workers, employment

    agencies should register their intermediaries.