Expatriate Bangladeshis are supposed to be closest to each other, but the opposite picture is being seen in different countries of the world. Expatriate Bangladeshis are becoming the cause of their own helplessness by resorting to deception and deceit with each other. This time the story is Malaysia.
Ibrahim Manik from Faridganj, Chandpur, lives in the Minhu Factory area of Copper Batu Lima, Kelang, Malaysia. He came to Malaysia on a calling visa in early 2006. He is currently living there illegally at the end of his visa.
Ibrahim Manik contacted Masud of Tangail on the basis of previous acquaintance for visa to get validity. Masood has also lived in the same area in Malaysia for a long time. In a conversation with this reporter last Friday, Ibrahim Manik said that he had paid 10,000 ringgit (about two lakh rupees in Bangladeshi currency) to Masood in two installments to get a visa. Five thousand was paid in October 2015 and the rest was ringgit last year.
Ibrahim Manik complained that even though he was given so much money, Masood did not give him a visa. In the first phase, a visa is affixed to the passport. But when you check online, it is known to be fake. The next time Masood put a fake visa with someone else’s picture in his passport instead of my picture. If you want to know about the fraud, you are threatened with death, said Ibrahim Manik.
He further said that he is currently working in a glass company. I can’t usually get out because I’m illegal. I spend the night where I work.
According to Bangladeshi workers working in the Minhu factory area of Kemar’s Copper Batu Lima, Masood once came to Malaysia as a worker. At present he does not do any work. He has taken money from many workers like Ibrahim Manik to get visas. He has a group of Indians active in the area. No one dares to open their mouth for fear of them. He also has close ties with the local police administration.
They also said that their job is to cheat Bangladeshi workers in various ways. They also have illegal hundi business. Although the expatriate workers were tortured in various ways through them, no one opened their mouths for fear.
According to the relevant sources, on February 15, 2017, the Malaysian government announced the legalization of the illegals in the name of re-hiring. About three lakh Bangladeshis have so far registered illegal workers under it.
About 30,000 Bangladeshis have received visas under re-hiring. The remaining 270,000 illegal workers have not yet received visas. However, the re-hiring program will end on December 31 this year.
Migrant workers in Malaysia have become helpless due to the violence of middlemen. A powerful clique of middlemen has sprung up around a special program launched by the Malaysian government to legalize illegal workers.
Not only that, the illegals trying to legitimize in Malaysia are trapped in the trap of conditions. Two alternative conditions have been given for Bangladeshis. First, take advantage of ongoing re-hiring or re-hiring until December 31st. Second, voluntary surrender with three plus one i.e. valid travel documents, fines and repatriation.
Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Welfare and the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur say Bangladeshis want to take advantage of the first condition, re-hiring.
According to multiple sources, the Bangladesh government has continued talks at the highest level of the country to take advantage of this opportunity.
Meanwhile, undocumented Bangladeshis have fallen into the clutches of brokers in different places to become legal. Many people have become destitute after losing money including passports while participating in the re-hiring program. Again, many of those who took part in the re-hiring are still suffering from the fear of arrest for not matching visas.
Illegal workers from Bangladesh, India and other countries are desperate to seize the opportunity after extending the legal validity period for all illegal immigrants in Malaysia to the end of this year. The undocumented Bangladeshis are said to be in trouble as the Malaysian government has given them a chance to become legal but has imposed conditions on them to take part in the re-hiring program. The leaders of the expatriate community want strong administrative steps to legalize the illegals and establish their rights.
Shah Alam Hawlader, senior vice-president of the Malaysian Workers League, blamed middlemen, including employers and employers, for legalizing illegal Bangladeshi workers. He expressed his displeasure and said that many people have fallen into the clutches of the brokers and lost their money including passports and become destitute. Some did not even get a visa within a year of participating in the re-hiring program.
‘What steps has the embassy taken to address those who are not getting visas even after paying the levy through My-Easy – this is our question. National leaders-administrative officials said in the meeting-seminar that the expatriates are the Golden Boy. But the government and the socialists have no qualms about the fact that the Golden Boy is in danger step by step, ”he added.
According to sources, the Malaysian government launched two programs to legalize illegal workers. One is re-hiring and the other is e-card program. Among the two programs, the free e-card program also has to be validated by depositing one thousand ringgit. Although it did not have the opportunity to be valid. The government initiates the legalization process through a number of criteria. About one lakh illegal workers were registered under the e-card. The card will expire on February 15 next year. The visa must be obtained by completing the necessary documents.
It has been alleged that the middlemen took money from the Bangladeshi workers in the name of legalization but in most cases they could not do so. That is why they are not returning the money transaction. On the contrary, they are being intimidated by the police. Thus, many Bangladeshis have become hostages to this cycle.
According to the aggrieved workers, the employers are using this opportunity to hire illegal workers for half the wages. At the end of the month, they have to work hard to survive. Having to live a very inhuman life.
One worker, who did not want to be named, said more than 10,000 Bangladeshi middlemen were buying and selling workers in the country. They are exploiting the workers in every way they can. Sometimes in the name of the High Commission, sometimes in the name of protecting them from the police, sometimes in the name of legalizing them.
He said that the general workers are being forced to follow the cycle. To apply for legalization, one has to officially submit 1,200 ringgit. But many Bangladeshi workers have paid huge sums to middlemen.
It has been found out that the people working as middlemen are also citizens of Bangladesh. They also came to Malaysia one day as workers. Having lived in the country for a long time, they have developed good relations with the locals. They even have a lot of contact with the police.
In Malaysia, many foreign workers are working in various industries without valid documents. 29.4 per cent of the foreigners working in the country are from Indonesia, 23.6 per cent from Nepal, 14.3 per cent from Bangladesh, 6.9 per cent from Myanmar and 5.1 per cent from India.
In addition, the Philippines has 3.1 percent, Pakistan 2.5 percent and Thailand 0.8 percent. 4 percent of workers from other countries are working in Malaysia.
An official of the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur said that negotiations were being held to legalize the illegal workers. Although the legalization period has been extended to December 31 this year, the country continues to crack down on illegal workers. After being detained, someone is being released in exchange for money. Again many are being sent to the country.
Malaysian police have never taken a bribe before. Bangladeshi middlemen have taught them to take bribes, he complained.
The first secretary of the labor branch of the Bangladesh High Commission has admitted the violence of the middlemen. The secretary, who did not want to be named, said, “We are trying to serve the expatriate Bangladeshis.” But there seems to be less interest in being legitimate. Because no one wants to come up to the High Commission.
There is only one reason for this. There is a fear among many that they will be caught by the police to come to the High Commission. Another reason is that the middlemen are taking money from them in the name of legalization. Leave everything to them. Later, when the time was running out, he saw that the middlemen could not legalize them.
‘The work is yours. You can’t work with a middleman here. Employees will come to the High Commission and apply with fingerprints. Only then will it be valid with the permission of the authorities. What to do if you approach the middleman after repeated calls? The mission is always labor-friendly, he added.
Ahmed Ali of Narsingdi said he completed the re-hiring through a company to be legal last year. But so far not getting a visa. When contacted, the company said it was not issuing an immigration visa, but would have to wait.
Ahmed Ali has been caught by the police six times so far. Despite having valid documents, he had to stay in custody for three days. Three days later, the owner of the company released him, in exchange for one thousand rupees, he complained.