Malaysia resumes hiring Bangladeshi migrants

Malaysia has resumed recruiting Bangladeshi migrant workers after a four-year pause, an official said Tuesday, in a move easing Dhaka's remittance worries after the jobs market in the Middle East dried up.

The Bangladesh government on Monday announced that an online registration process for those seeking work in Malaysia would start from January 13, following calls for 10,000 plantation workers.

The announcement followed a government-to-government deal in November to recruit up to 500,000 workers in manufacturing, service, agriculture and construction sectors in next five years.

"We are starting with 10,000 workers and by the end of this year the cumulative number would be 100,000," overseas employment secretary Zafar Ahmed Khan told AFP.

There are currently an estimated 500,000 Bangladeshi labourers in Malaysia, but the Southeast Asian nation has not hired since 2009 following reports of recruitment agencies sending a huge number of migrants to work illegally.

Impoverished Bangladesh, which heavily relies on multi-billion dollar remittance to spur its economy, has some 8.5 million workers in 157 nations across the globe.

The United Arab Emirates stopped hiring workers from Dhaka in August. The Gulf nation had been the top recruiter from Bangladesh since 2007, replacing Saudi Arabia, which also drastically cut worker numbers.

Migrant workers sent home a record $12.85 billion in the last fiscal year ended June, accounting for 12 percent of Bangladesh's gross domestic product, according to official figures.

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