The state recruitment agency has revised the cost of migration for outbound workers after almost six years to make it more worker-friendly.
The Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited (BOESL), the lone recruiter of the government, approved the revised charges for different countries at its board meeting recently, said officials.
Recruitment costs for nine countries-Kuwait, Jordan, Seychelles, Croatia, Mauritius, Bulgaria, Australia, Fiji and Russia-have been revised.
The BOESL last revised recruitment fees in 2016.
The rates have been revised for the countries in question under skilled and professional categories.
The revised costs are Tk 52,850 and Tk 41,250 respectively for Kuwait, Seychelles, Australia, Fiji and Russia.
But the rate remained unchanged for Seychelles-bound skilled category workers-Tk 26,800 each.
Earlier, recruitment fees for professionals were Tk 87,340 each and Tk 52,740 for each skilled worker.
On the other hand, Jordan-bound labour counsellors will pay Tk 30,000 from the earlier Tk 87,340.
However, the cost increased to Tk 41,250 from Tk 38,940 for skilled workers to Mauritius and Croatia.
The cost for Bulgaria-bound garment workers (skilled) has been re-fixed at Tk 52,850 from Tk 52,740.
The costs include service charge, wage earners' welfare fee, pre-exit processing and training fee, insurance and smartcard fee.
However, airfare is mostly borne by the employers.
However, the rates have remained unchanged for garment workers bound for Jordan and Romania.
Domestic workers for Honk Kong and South Korea-bound workers under the employment permit system (EPS) also remained unchanged.
BOESL deputy general manager Noor Ahmed told the FE that the rates have been changed so that workers can recover the costs without any difficulty.
The rates actually were changed on different occasions for different countries. The accumulated rates would be posted on its website for aspirants.
Generally, if the migration cost is equivalent to three months' salary of a worker, it is considered standard.
"We have ensured that workers can recover it [migration cost] in one month's salary," Mr Ahmed said.
The migration cost has been deceased at a time when it has been a headache for Bangladeshis who aspire to go abroad with jobs, he stated.
The drip in migration cost can be a good example for private recruitment agencies as well.
"We actually prefer 'Employers Pay Model' where employers will bear all costs," the BOESL official said, adding that they are working on the issue.
The agency is also exploring new markets to increase employment opportunities.
Recently, it has started sending workers to Malaysia without migration cost. Malaysia will hire 10,000 workers for different sectors, especially in its plantation sector, through the state-run recruiter.
The BOESL was established in 1984. It sends workers to more than 30 countries, mainly to Jordan and South Korea.
The agency has so far sent more than 115,000 workers to different job destination countries.
Migrant rights activists have called for decreased more service charges by BOESL to make it worker-friendly.
Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP) chairman Shakirul Islam said BOESL should lower its service charge and put more focus on Employer' Pay Model'.
He suggested that brokers be kept at bay.