Officials give further details on labour agreement with Bangladesh | 24 October 2019
With the labour agreement with the Bangladesh government signed and moratorium on recruitment of Bangladeshi workers finally removed, the Ministry of Employment, Immigration and Civil Status have now revealed the new procedures for recruiting Bangladeshi workers.
These procedures have already been communicated to employers.
The ministry imposed a moratorium on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in Seychelles in October 2018, preventing local employers from sourcing their employees from Bangladesh.
More than 1600 Bangladeshi were recorded to be working in Seychelles as of August 2019, mostly in the construction and agricultural sectors.
The new labour agreement between Seychelles and Bangladesh was signed this week by the Minister for Employment, Immigration and Civil Status Myriam Telemaque and Bangladesh’s Minister for Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Iman Ahmad.
This agreement was designed with the aim of implementing proper procedures for employment and repatriation, protecting the rights of migrant workers and preventing trafficking in persons and illegal employment.
“This agreement has given us a stepping stone to prevent and control human trafficking. As you know, Seychelles has witnessed a few cases of human trafficking where some foreign workers have faced labour exploitation to the extent that they have been bought and sold on the local labour market and this cannot be tolerated,” the principal secretary for employment, Jules Baker, explained.
Under this agreement, employers will have to cover all travel expenses of Bangladeshi migrant workers from and to Bangladesh.
These expenses will include maintenance expenses while travelling, inclusive of sickness or hospitalisation costs as well as transportation costs for personal belongings.
“It is also a requirement for the Bangladeshi worker to speak basic English. The Bangladeshi government has committed itself to ensure that the Bangladeshi workers coming to Seychelles speak and understand basic English,” PS Baker added.
“If necessary, they will have to go to school for six months to learn how to communicate in English. And given that employers might not have the time to wait six months for a worker, the Bangladeshi government will put in place a mechanism to teach them English earlier on so that there will be a pool of workers available to meet demands.”
Another condition that has been set is that all employers seeking Bangladeshi workers will now have to go through two designated public employment agencies in Bangladesh – Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Ltd (BOESL) and Bureau of Manpower Employment Training (BMET).
Employers will also be able to pay these agencies using Seychelles Rupees instead of foreign exchange as had been commonly practiced when using private agencies.
“This will streamline sourcing out of foreigners in Bangladesh because there are more than 1600 employment agencies in Bangladesh which makes it very difficult for the Bangladeshi government to control,” PS Baker stated.
Going through the two designated agencies is the only process by which Bangladeshis coming to work in Seychelles will receive a smart card containing all their biometric data.
This smart card is one of the essential documents that a Bangladeshi worker will have to produce in order to be allowed entry into the Seychelles.
The other indispensable documents for entry in Seychelles are:
- A valid passport for at least the duration of the contract of employment
- A police clearance certificate
- A valid work permit (Gainful Occupation Permit)
- Contract of employment attested by the Seychelles employment department.
The principal secretary for Immigration and Civil Status, Alain Volcère, noted that all work permits must be endorsed by the Consulate of Seychelles to Bangladesh which is located in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
PS Volcère further explained that Bangladeshi workers currently in Seychelles do not have to prescribe to these conditions until their contract and permits expire, after which they will have to go back home and abide by the BOESL and BEMT process.
PS Baker also noted that a business which has put in an application for expatriate workers will have to be registered with the registrar of companies, so as to eliminate middle men who bring in expatriate workers for other local employers.
“The department of employment will not give permission to any organisation which is not registered with the registrar of companies in Seychelles. Businessmen or companies that are recruiting foreign labour will thus have to submit a registration of incorporation from the registration division to certify that they are registered.”
The employer will further be liable to provide the expatriate workers with decent accommodation that has been certified by the Ministry of Health.
The employer will equally be responsible for bearing the medical cost for Bangladeshi workers as well as for their repatriation in cases of illness or injury.
“This agreement with Bangladesh will facilitate other agreements with other countries from which we recruit foreign labour. It will ensure that everything is done in a well-organised manner and eliminate instances of false documents such as false passports, GOPs and certificate of employment,” PS Baker concluded.
The Ministry of Employment, Immigration and Civil Status have confirmed that similar labour agreements are in the works with India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.