Change in the situation of migrant workers due to the financial crisis

On March 15 2009 the Malaysian government revoked 60.000 work visas it had promised Bangladeshis and also the Home Ministry announced an operation geared at detaining and deporting about 1,5 million illegal workers, most of which are from Bangladesh and Nepal. The financial crisis let many companies close and now the native people from the host countries losing their jobs. In Malaysia there will be more than half million Malaysians may lose their jobs this year. This fact develops a pressure on the government, which is faced now with an increasing number of unsatisfied voters.

The Home Minister of Malaysia said “the illegal migrant’s better leave before the operation starts”. But even to return in their home country is not always possible for this people. Migrants had to pay first for their journey to the host country, then for a recruitment agency to get a job and if they start to earn money, they will send the most of it to their families. About 10% of Bangladesh´s total GDP comes from the remittances of pools of unskilled laborers working in Malaysia and the Gulf states. But if the migrants lose their jobs, they don’t have even enough money to return home and they still illegal in the host country. But this fact makes their situation even worse, because not many employers will give work to illegal migrants.

Another reason which makes it harder for migrants to find a job is the increasing competition for the low paid jobs through the workers of the host country. An example is the work at the oil palm plantations in Malaysia, which involve hard work under the hot sun, and were once done only by migrant worker´s. But now many of laid-off Malaysians star to work in this area, to guaranty an income for them.

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One thought on “Change in the situation of migrant workers due to the financial crisis

  1. There is no doubt that the South Asian countries are going to face a big economic pressure. They are bount to send back migrant workers. But is obvious, that the worker are working very hard and also playing an important role in economy. It will be really very difficult for them if they loose their job abroad because they have no skill to work independently, or even find a job. The Government should store some money as pension from the workers salary what they will get back after coming homeland. Also government should arrange some skill development program for the workers. Goverment need to be more cordial…..


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