Sunday, January 28, 2007

Canadian jobs beckon Bangladeshi workers

PORIMOL PALMA

For the first time, Bangladesh is expecting to send workers to Canada, a lucrative job market that ensures high salaries and workers' rights at low service charges.

Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited (BOESL), a state-owned recruiting agency, has already prepared a draft contract with a Canadian outsourcing company that was attested by the Canadian High Commission in Dhaka recently.

Once the contract is approved, BOESL can start sending workers of various technical professions, including plumbers, truck drivers, electricians and welders, within the next few months, sources in the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment said.
A worker has to pay only 4,000 Canadian dollars or Taka 2 to 2.5 lakh (Can $ 1= Taka 58. 57) to get to Canada, while he can earn around Taka 1.5 to 2 lakh every month, a high official of the ministry pointed out while talking to The Daily Star.

"There are opportunities for the Bangladeshi workers to earn even more than that as they usually work after the scheduled working hours also," he added requesting not to be named.

The way the Canadian company approached Bangladesh shows that it has huge demands for technical professionals, he said adding, "We can earn huge remittance once we start sending workers as the salary is quite high over there. We can also train up our large number of unemployed youths to the standard preferred by the country."

The Canadian company, however, sets condition that BOESL has to bring back the workers at its own cost if they failed in medical tests or interviews conducted in the receiving country, which spells severe loss for the recruiting agency.

"We proposed that Canadian employers conduct the final interviews of workers and their medical tests in Bangladesh by the medical centres authorised by them instead of Canada," a BOESL official said adding that, in this way, there will be no case of workers' return.

"That is why we are now negotiating with the Canadian company," he said.

If necessary, BOESL, in association with the vocational training centres run by the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), can provide further training to the aspirant workers required by the Canadian employers, the official said.

Though there is no official assessment on the actual condition of the labour market in Canada, it is learnt from various sources that Canada as well as other European countries are facing severe lack of workers from technical professions, he said.

According to a Canadian website 'Immigration Expert,' demand for more and more workforce is growing, fuelled by Alberta's red-hot oil economy and the construction booms in Ontario and British Columbia.

The lack of workers is made even worse by the fact that fewer Canadians than ever are joining the domestic labour force. The three provinces, the centre of Canada's economic engine, hope to use foreign workers to make up the shortage, according to the website. #

The article was first published in the Daily Star, January 28, 2007