Saturday, August 8, 2009

Overseas Employment Agencies Offer Services on Credit

JEG's note: This falls under Human Exploitation, agencies are paid up to $110 per head on recruitment, who pays? the employer. On top of that they charge a $1500 fee to the applicant and there is no guarantee the applicant will get a job abroad. The employer is the only one who should pay for the service, the applicant is free from these exorbitant charges, what a great idea to have the news censored to keep people ignorant of their rights, another "less-honest initiative" of the military junta.

The Irrawaddy News

RANGOON — To meet a growing demand from overseas employers, employment agencies in Burma have begun offering their services at a discount or on credit to persuade more Burmese workers to apply for jobs abroad.

“We are introducing a credit scheme which allows successful applicants to pay only half of the service fee before they leave Burma, and the other half from their earnings while working abroad,” said the manager of an overseas employment agency in Rangoon’s Kamayut Township. “Other companies are giving discounts to get people to sign up,” he added.

With the demand for cheap Burmese labor growing in countries recovering from the sharp economic downturn of the past year, many job-hunting agencies are even turning to rural areas in search of new recruits.

“Recruiting agents are sent to Upper Burma to find workers to go to Malaysia. They get US $50 for each new worker they recruit,” said a broker working for an overseas employment agency in Rangoon. “If they can find a person who wants to work in Singapore, they get $110 per head.”

However, many agencies say they are still having difficulty filling orders from Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because the number of overseas job-seekers is steadily declining.

“I received more labor recruitment orders this month,” said the owner of an overseas employment agency in Botahtaung Township, Rangoon. “But those who want to go abroad can’t afford the service fee.”

The cost of finding a job overseas is high by Burmese standards, and often proves to be an insurmountable obstacle for those seeking opportunities to earn money abroad. For a job in Malaysia, for instance, applicants must pay between $600 and $1,100, depending on the type of job.

Malaysia is one of the most popular destinations for Burmese who want to work abroad, with many kinds of jobs available in a variety of industries, from restaurants to rubber plantations and furniture factories.

“Work orders from Malaysia have been increasing since July,” said an employee of the Thuka Su San Overseas Employment Agency in Rangoon. “The economic situation in Malaysia is improving and workers can get overtime work again now.”

Although Malaysia continues to attract Burmese workers, better-paying jobs in Singapore remain beyond the reach of most. Service fees for finding work in Singapore are set at around $2,200, and applicants are also required to have a command of English and some other skill, such as driving or carpentry.

“Service fees for Malaysia are cheaper and there is no education qualifications to get a job in the country,” said the employment agent from Thuka Su San. “That’s why we get more laborers from rural areas going to Malaysia, while those going to Singapore are from urban areas like Rangoon.”

However, the number of workers going to Singapore has sharply decreased, with each agency sending just one or two workers a month. In some months, they can’t even send one.

For other destinations that promise even better wages, such as the UAE, prohibitively expensive service fees mean that there are few takers for the jobs available.

“A worker at a shipping dock in the UAE can earn the equivalent of $17 a day plus accommodation and meals,” said an agent from the A Win Win Overseas Employment Company in Kamayut Township. “But few people are interested in the job because they can’t afford the $1,500 service fee.”

In Burma, there are 131 overseas employment agencies officially registered by the Ministry of Labor. However, some agencies have been deregistered due to the economic downturn.

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