New Delhi, Jan. 3: India today signed a bilateral labour mobility agreement with Malaysia, but Kuala Lumpurs policy of cutting down on migrant workers — from the existing 12 million to 1.8 million — continues.
Both sides said supply of labour was demand-based.
With the agreement, both countries hope to reduce the activities of unscrupulous recruitment agents and provide workers a fair deal in terms of labour law protection and compensations provided by the host country.
Currently there are 1.5 million Indian workers in Malaysia, mostly in service sectors and plantation-based industries.
With this agreement, we hope to improve the conditions of the existing workers and bring them under the prevailing labour laws and the social security net of the country, said Malaysias human resource minister S. Subramanian, who signed the agreement with minister for overseas Indian affairs Vyalar Ravi.
There is also scope for enhancing pre-departure and orientation training for workers in the agreement. The agreement will also check unscrupulous agents, Ravi said.
A joint working group consisting of six members from both countries will also be constituted to review and set the administrative framework of the agreement.
The joint working group and a ministerial committee will meet periodically every year.
But the Malaysian minister admitted that the policy of discouraging migration still existed in his country.
We have a policy to reduce the number of migrant workers to 1.8 million from the existing 12 million. Then recruitment of workers is based on demand. Wherever and whenever there is a demand, we will recruit workers, Subramanian said.