Section 31

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Coercive, unfair or deceptive recruitment Criminal liability Retention of travel and identification documents

Section 31 criminalises sending migrant workers overseas “in an unlawful manner” and establishes a sentence of up to five years of imprisonment and a fine for this offence. Under this provision, the offence of sending migrant workers overseas in unlawful manner is defined as:

(a) sending or assisting to send a person overseas for the purpose of employment in violation of the Act;

(b) receiving or attempting to receive money or a payment through false promises of overseas employment;

(c) witholding the passport, visa, and migration-related documents of a migrant worker; and

(d) making a person fraudulently emigrate or inducing a person to enter into a contract for migration by giving a false promise of high wages, benefits and facilities, or engaging in fraudulent activities with regard to a migrant worker.

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Section 31. Penalties for sending migrant workers overseas in unlawful manner, and for charging unlawful amounts of fees, and such others.— [sic] (1) It shall be considered an offence if a person or a recruitment agent:

(a) sends or assists to send a person overseas for the purpose of employment or enters into contract on behalf of another person, in violation of provisions of this Act or of the Rules;

(b) receives or attempts to receive any sum of money or a payment in any other form by giving a person a false undertaking to provide overseas employment;

(c) detains, without any valid reason, the passport, visa, and migration-related documents of a migrant worker; and

(d) makes a person fraudulently emigrates or induces a person to enter into a contract for migration by giving a false promise of high wages, benefits and facilities, or engages in fraudulent activities in any way with regard to a migrant worker;

and, for that offence, the concerned person or the recruitment agent shall be punishable with imprisonment of a term which may be up to five years, and with a penalty, which shall not be less than Bangladeshi Taka One Lakh.

Law / Bangladesh / Overseas Employment and Migrants Act, 2013

The Overseas Employment and Migrants’ Act, 2013 (or “Migrants’ Act 2013”) is the first law on migration and overseas employment passed by the Parliament of Bangladesh. This law replaces the Emigration Ordinance, issued by the president in 1982. It has a dedicated chapter on regulation of recruitment.