The expatriate welfare and overseas employment ministry fixed Tk78,990 as the total migration cost to Malaysia.
Also, employers in the destination country will bear all costs, including air tickets and accommodation fee, Expatriate Welfare Minister Imran Ahmed told journalists on Wednesday – at a time when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) started an investigation into allegations of a 25-agency syndicate for recruiting Bangladeshi workers.
Urging everyone to stick to the rate, he said, "We will have a final discussion on the process to send workers at a meeting on 13 July."
"Documentation expenses like passport and medical fees, welfare fee and agencies' service charges are included in the total migration cost," Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) Director General Md Shahidul Alam told The Business Standard.
The recruiting agencies' service charges would be Tk37,000, he added.
Meanwhile, Bangladeshi labour exporters urged the government to start a similar investigation as the one by Malaysia to identify the recruiting agencies involved with the alleged syndicate.
"Since Malaysia has started an investigation into the syndicate of 25 agencies, the Bangladesh government should complete all the procedures and suspend the recruitment of workers there. Because if allegations of corruption surface, hopefuls may lose money if hiring is suddenly stopped," Shamim Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, former secretary general, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira), told The Business Standard.
"It is unknown how the government will ensure the money they fixed. Even before, workers were forced to go for two to three times the fixed cost. That's why Malaysia stopped hiring workers in 2018 due to high immigration costs," he added.
After a joint working group meeting between the countries on 2 June, Expat Minister Imran Ahmed said that the cost would be less than Tk1.60 lakh.
In the 2015 contract known as G2G Plus, Malaysia hired 3.5 million workers through 10 recruiting agencies. Although the cost of immigration is taken into account, the agencies charged three and a half to four lakh taka, much higher than the fixed amount.
Mahathir Mohamad's government, which returned to power in Malaysia in 2018, cancelled G2G Plus, alleging corruption of at least Tk5,000 crore.
However, Malaysia took the decision to allow only 25 Bangladeshi agencies to recruit workers from Bangladesh this time, though Bangladesh sent the list of 1,520 registered agencies to Malaysia.
On Tuesday, a team of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) visited the office of Bestinet, a Malaysian IT firm in Kuala Lumpur, involved in the manpower recruitment process.
They interrogated the firm's boss Amin Nor over the issue, according to Malaysian media and diplomatic sources.
Abdul Nor alias Amin, founder and chairman of the aforementioned IT firm, is a Bangladeshi-origin Malaysian.
A labour agency in Dhaka previously accused Bestinet's founder of "persuading" the government to limit the number of agencies that supply labour to only 25.
Free Malaysia Today, a Malaysian news portal reports that Bestinet has confirmed that its office was raided by the MACC and said it is fully cooperating with the authorities.
Meanwhile, the MACC officials went to the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur later on the same day.
They made queries about the role of the high commission in selecting the 25 agencies for recruiting migrant workers.
The Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Saravanan recently came under fire for selecting only a handful of companies for the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers.
The country is all set to resume sending workers to Malaysia this month, as issues relevant to the matter have finally been resolved in a joint working group meeting held on 2 June in Dhaka – seven months after the signing of a memorandum of understanding in this regard.
Bangladesh has left it up to Malaysia to decide how many agencies will send workers from Bangladesh to Malaysia.
As per Malaysia's proposal, a group of 25 recruiting agencies have been selected to send workers to that country, said the other Bangladeshi recruiters who have been protesting against this decision.
According to the MoU signed in December 2021, five lakh people would migrate to Malaysia in five years.