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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Nearly 40,000 overseas job-seekers cheated

The Daily Star Bangladesh (7/11/2007): The recruiting agency is then required to send the specific number of aspirant workers to Baira for providing necessary details and having their fingerprints digitised -- which are to be sent over the internet by Baira to Malaysian home ministry. The ministry then issues visas (calling visas) for the workers and send those via online to Baira and BMET. Upon arrival, the workers' fingerprints are verified on computers by immigration officials at port of entry in Malaysia.

Although Malaysian employers issue Job Demand Letters for a specific number of workers, unscrupulous officials of recruiting agencies promise jobs to a larger number of naïve jobseekers only to deceive them into paying exorbitant amounts of money.

To give a sense of hope to the cheated jobseekers, these officials send them to Baira to have their fingerprints digitised by computer operators they had bribed, added the sources in Baira and recruiting agencies.

"But the reality is, visas are not issued for these jobseekers. .... These officials repeatedly assure the jobseekers that they would be sent to Malaysia. Days go by, but they are not sent," said an official at Baira requesting anonymity.

As the allegations were found to be true, the Baira authorities dismissed seven of its computer operators and withheld Tk 2 lakh from each of the recruiting agencies involved in the scam, sources said.

After pocketing the jobseekers' money, many of the agents sometimes disappear, while others continue to give them the runaround and make up different excuses for the delay in receiving their visas to Malaysia, said a recruiting agency official.

Baira Secretary Saroaruzzaman confirmed such illegal practices and the dismissal of the Baira computer operators.

Baira is withholding Tk 2 lakh as security money from each of the five to seven recruiting agencies for their fingerprint scam, he said adding that an elected executive committee of Baira would later decide whether to return the money to the agencies or consider it as fine.

"It is difficult to identify how many such fingerprints were entered. These fingerprints are never sent to Malaysia. We strictly tally the Job Demand Letters when we send the fingerprints," Saroaruzzaman said assuring that the Baira authorities are strictly monitoring the process now.

Asked to comment on the return of around five hundred workers from Kuala Lumpur airport due to fingerprint mismatch, since the fresh manpower export to Malaysia began in August last year, he said they are yet to identify the reasons behind the mismatch of fingerprints.

A section of officials of recruiting agencies and Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) are allegedly swindling thousands of job seekers out of an enormous amount of money for sending their digitised fingerprints to Malaysia with the false impression of finalising their jobs, said sources in Baira and manpower businesses.

So far, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 jobseekers have been cheated this way, said official sources at Baira.

Over 2.5 lakh workers are now working in the South East Asian country and more are lining up at recruiting agencies for a better future.

Under the current recruiting process, a Malaysian employer first issues a specific number of Job Demand Letters that are sent to Baira, the recruiting agency and Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), the regulatory wing of expatriates' welfare ministry.


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