Monday, April 16, 2012
Manpower syndicates of both Bangladesh and Libya are out to “manage visas” to recruit jobseekers to war-torn Libya.
But the country still reels from security concerns, and employers are not recruiting many workers there now.
Officials of Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli said the brokers have already “managed” an estimated 10-15 thousand job demands, but the embassy approved only around 1,500 after thorough inspections of the employing companies.
Foreign companies had left Libya after a civil war broke out there in the beginning of February last year and ended with the Western interventions in the third quarter of 2011.
Over 36,000 Bangladeshi workers were forced to return home during wartime.
The returnees and new jobseekers have started their efforts to find jobs in Libya again.
Brokers are wooing many jobseekers and charging Tk 2 lakh to Tk 3 lakh each for a job, said some jobseekers who already submitted money and passports to some brokers and recruiting agencies.
Earlier, manpower syndicates became engaged in visa trading and sent more than the required number of workers. For example, a company required 10 workers, but they “managed” 20 visas.
The idea is to make more money by recruiting more workers, some recruiting agencies alleged.
Such malpractice almost stopped the Bangladeshi workers’ recruitment to Libya in 2010. It, however, seems to have started again, they said.
According to sources, fraudsters were trying to send jobseekers to Libya’s neighbouring countries — Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia with tourist visas, and then push them into Libya.
The number of Bangladeshis, who are entering Libya in this way, would be around 7,000, sources in Libya said adding that these workers will face trouble in future.
“I submitted Tk 2.8 lakh to a broker who said my flight would be on March 25,” said Ilias Ali, a jobseeker from Meherpur, a south-western district of the country.
Ilias, however, does not know the name of the recruiting agency. He only said that the broker is from his village and knows everything.
Anisur Rahman Khan, a migrants’ rights activist, alleged that either a broker or an official of a recruiting agency at Banani in the capital sent messages to the mobile phones of the Libya returnees asking them to contact immediately for going to Libya.
As he dialled the number posing as a Libya returnee and enquired the person on the other end whether the message sender has job visas or any advertisement in this connection had been published, the person informed him that they have representatives in Libya and they were trying to collect visas.
Migrant rights activists Joynal Abedin and Al Amin Nayan said they have information that many were submitting money to recruiting agencies to go to Libya.
Ahsan Kibria, labour counsellor of Bangladesh embassy in Libya, said only a few foreign companies that employ foreign workers have returned to Libya, and so many jobs have not been created there yet.
“I, therefore, check out in person whether the employers, who are getting approval for recruiting foreign workers, have the ability to pay wages, provide accommodation and others,” he told The Daily Star recently.
M Taneem Hasan, owner of the recruiting agency Bluestar Services that recruited 76 jobseekers after the civil war, said Libya’s National Transitional Committee (NTC)-backed government allowed some foreign companies to recruit workers, who had earlier worked there.
The NTC even issued on-arrival visas to these workers, he said.
Hasan, however, could not confirm whether any group was trying to exploit these visas.
“I will therefore suggest that the authorities concerned do not allow any recruitment procedure in Libya without the attestation of job demand letters by the Bangladesh mission in Tripoli,” he said.
Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies has requested the jobseekers to go to Libya only through the licensed recruiting agents, subject to approval by the manpower bureau or expatriates’ welfare ministry.
Begum Shamsunnahar, director general at the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, said they are not issuing emigration clearances to the jobseekers unless their documents are attested by the Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli.
Meanwhile, a taskforce of the expatriates’ welfare ministry instructed the immigration authorities at the airport to be careful in allowing the Libya or Africa-bound passengers from Bangladesh.