Abuse of vulnerability Coercive, unfair or deceptive recruitment Debt bondage
Section 7 regulates the conduct of recruiting agents and establishes requirements and obligations including: the obligation to have a centre for briefing and counselling of migrant workers; to input the name of every candidate for overseas employment into an official database; to refrain from accepting conditions of employment that are less favourable than those approved by the government; to provide the emigrant worker with a contract and read out the contract to the worker; to ensure that the migrant workers’ salary and working conditions, as agreed upon in the contract, will be respected; and to refrain from charging any extra charges other than the service charges determined by the Government.
The Government’s capacity to monitor and supervise recruiting agencies is very limited, even following complaints by workers. According to the ILO, the processes for supervising recruiting agents of the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) are ‘cumbersome and inadequate’. Furthermore, the vulnerability of migrants is exacerbated by low literacy rates, a lack of information and poor understanding of the migration process. As a result, migrant workers suffer fraud and deception before they even exit Bangladesh.
Recruiting agents and their sub-agents do not comply with their obligation to provide a copy and read out the contract to the workers recruited. Many migrants rely on verbal agreements with their recruiters, and do not keep papers or go through their contract documentation. When they do, complex language and highly technical terms often hinder their comprehension of key terms and conditions. Taking advantage of this lack of understanding, recruiters often make false promises of high wages, easy work, and job security. While recruiting agencies are obliged to maintain an information and consultation centre, instead of this, in practice, illegal intermediaries and sub-agents known as ‘dalals’ operate from the offices of many recruitment agents and in grassroots locations, which allows agencies to operate without expanding their offices. As a result, dalals often constitute the first point of information for potential migrant workers. Under this mechanism, recruiting agents do not have a responsibility for the conduct of the illegal sub-agents and intermediaries who operate under their names.
It is common for dalals to charge huge recruiting fees, in excess of the legal maximum. Furthermore, there are no specific rules or a policy to regulate those who act as illegal intermediaries abroad.
Section 7. Recruiting Agent’s Conduct. (1) Every recruiting agent shall:
(a) keep a regular office and display a sign board;
(b) keep a display and counselling centre for briefing and counseling;
(c) select technically and physically fit candidates;
(d) select candidates from the data bank after its establishment;
(e) get the name of every candidate for the overseas employment into the data bank of the District Manpower Office;
(f) arrange medical examinations properly;
(g) comply with the provisions of the contract in letter and spirit.
(2) At the time of collecting demand, the recruiting agent shall strictly follow the rules, stated below:
(d) No recruiting agent shall accept such conditions regarding service charge, and salary, which are less than those approved by the Government for the emigrant:
Provided that the Registrar may exempt any recruiting agent from the operation of this provision if the recruiting agent applies for it before finalization of the commitment by the employer.
(e) Every recruiting agent shall have to be sure that the emigrant must not get less salary and enjoys less facilities than those stated in the contract.
(f) There shall not be any understanding, oral or written, between the employer and the recruiting agent by which the emigrant might face any problem regarding salary and other facilities.
(g) Copy of the contract shall have to be given and be read out to every emigrant in presence of the registrar.
(i) The recruiting agent shall not receive any other fee excepting the service fee.
(j) The recruiting agent shall not involve himself or abate or help any person in any illegal activities such as visa fabrication, and illegal use of group visa or of tourist visa, of student visa or of omron visa for overseas employment.
(k) The recruiting agent shall not, knowingly and wilfully, recruit less skilled emigrant for any employer.
(n) No conditions of service, which are less than those stated in the contract, shall be acceptable.
(o) At the time of collection of the demand, recruiting agent shall not adopt any means which is detrimental to the interest of the emigrant or nation.
(p) ‘The recruiting agent shall select candidate from data bank at the time of processing demand.
(3) At the lime of the selection of the emigrant, the recruiting agent shall comply with the following instructions strictly:
(a) to provide proper information to the emigrant by notification;
(b) to inform the emigrant all the facilities of the service;
(c) to claim only the service charges determined by the Government and not to claim extra charges;
(d) to render all sorts of assistance to the emigrant during his stay in foreign country;
(e) to meet up all claims of the emigrants;
(f) to ensure the presence of the candidate before the briefing centre.
Policy / 30 December 2002 / Bangladesh / Recruiting Agent’s Conduct and Licence Rules, 2002
The Recruiting Agent’s Conduct and Licence Rules (2002) were enacted in exercise of the power conferred by Section 19 of the Emigration Ordinance, 1982. Under the 2002 Rules no person is permitted to act as a recruiting agent without a licence. The 2002 Rules aim to ensure that a recruiting agent does not place a person in employment outside Bangladesh where that person would be required to work in less favourable employment conditions than those in Bangladesh. Recruiting agents are also required to ensure that emigrants are technically and physically fit for overseas employment.