The parliament on Thursday passed Overseas Employment and Migrants (amendment) Bill, 2023 aiming to make middlemen handling international migration accountable.
Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad moved the Bill in the House, and it was passed by voice vote.
As per the proposed law, intermediaries in foreign employment recruiting process will get recognition through registration.
The definition of 'sub-agent or representative' is defined in the Bill. It said that sub-agent or representative means a person registered under this Act who as a sub-agent or representative of a recruiting agent procures migrant workers for foreign employment as per demand of that agent.
Apart from this, the Bill keeps provisions for the introduction and facilitation of bank loans, tax concessions, savings, investments, financial assistance, scholarships etc. for the welfare of migrant workers and their family members.
It states that special financial and other welfare programmes may be adopted to ensure respect, dignity, rights, safety and security of female migrant workers abroad.
In the objective of the Bill, the minister said, in order to increase the accountability of the recruiting agencies, in addition to the existing administrative system, the recruiting agency will be fined a minimum of Tk 50,000 and a maximum of Tk 2 lakh for committing any crime.
A provision has been made for suspension of recruiting licence without investigation and hearing considering the seriousness of the complaint.
Provisions on sub-agent or representative appointment and related liability have been added to bring the intermediaries in the recruitment process of foreign employment under the accountability framework.
Taking part in the discussion of the Bill, Jatiya Party MP Pir Fazlur Rahman said that women are returning from abroad as dead bodies. But it says natural death.
"Postmortem should be done after the body arrives in the country. Instead of being tortured and dying like this, they should be given the opportunity to work in the country," he said.
He said that people traveling abroad for work are treated like criminals at the airport while they also face harassment when they arrive.
"A separate desk should be set up for them at the airport."
Jatiya Party MP Shamim Haider Patwari demanded a separate lounge for the migrant workers in the airport.
Ginoforum MP Mukabbir Khan demanded a provision be added that embassies will be obliged to give a report within three months about the health condition of female workers who have gone to work within three months.