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Migrant worker pays $7,000 to work in Singapore, ends up jobless and sleeping on street

Migrant worker pays $7,000 to work in Singapore, ends up jobless and sleeping on street
Jaynal visted the premises of the dairy farm at which he was promised a job in Lim Chu Kang to request for his work permit.
PHOTO: Supplied by Jaynal MD to CNA, Google Maps

A hopeful man from Bangladesh found himself without a job and a place to stay after paying $7,000 to come to Singapore for a better-paying job.

A post made on June 11 by the Facebook page of community organisation Migrant Workers Singapore (MWS) detailed the story of a migrant worker who was unable to contact his employer and was then left homeless after the agent who brought him to Singapore returned to Bangladesh without warning.

The worker is 25-year-old Jaynal MD, a former auto-rickshaw driver from Bangladesh, reported CNA.

Jaynal was informed by a friend of his father of an opportunity to work in Singapore in February this year. He was then put in touch with an agent who had reportedly gotten three other men from his hometown jobs in a dairy farm in Singapore by the name of DairyFolks Fresh Milk Suppliers.

The dairy farm owner was supposedly looking for another worker, who would be paid S$1,000 a month, Jaynal was told.

"I was very hopeful and happy … that I was going to get such an increase in my salary," Jaynal told CNA through a Bengali translator, adding that his family was equally enthusiastic.

He was reportedly paid about $320 a month as an auto-rickshaw driver. 

When he spoke with the agent in Singapore, Jaynal was told that he had to pay about 800,000 Bangladeshi taka ($9,200) to get the job - out of which the equivalent of $7,000 was to be paid before he came to Singapore.

Jaynal then reportedly sold his auto-rickshaw and took bank loans to pay for his flight and the agent's fee to come here.

After arriving in Singapore in early March, Jaynal stayed with other migrant workers in a house near City Square Mall rented by the agent. However, he was not given any updates regarding the job for two months, reported CNA.

Slept in park 

In a shocking turn of events, Jaynal's agent abruptly up and left for Bangladesh one day after telling Jaynal that he was going "someplace", reported CNA.

This resulted in Jaynal being kicked out of the house he had been staying in as the agent stopped paying his rent.

Jaynal's belongings were reportedly discarded near a rubbish bin and although he managed to recover some of them, he had lost his passport.

Left homeless, Jaynal had to sleep at a park near City Square Mall at Jalan Besar.

He would sometimes return to the house for meals as his former housemates understood his situation and welcomed him, he told CNA.

After this, Jaynal temporarily stayed with an acquaintance from his hometown whom he met via Facebook. This acquaintance then told him to seek help from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

When he reached out to MOM, he was told he needed to get a work permit from his employer before the ministry could help him.

Jaynal visited the DairyFolks Fresh Milk Suppliers' premises in Lim Chu Kang to obtain a work permit, but no one was around.

He did, however, manage to meet the three men from his village who were working there and found out that they had not been paid for six months.

The three men told Jaynal to reach out to MWS, which had been assisting them with their issues.

Found temporary housing

MWS founder Ripon Chowdhury then introduced Jaynal to non-profit Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), which agreed to house him temporarily.

While Jaynal was living in the housing provided by TWC2, MOM contacted him and arranged for a conversation between him and the son of his employer.

During this meeting, his employer's son told Jaynal that he had been scammed, as they only ever asked the agent for three workers, Jaynal recounted to CNA.

Calls made by AsiaOne to the DairyFolks Fresh Milk Suppliers' landline revealed that the number was no longer available, and emails sent to the email address listed on their website did not go through.

The son of Jaynal's employer supposedly declined to comment, reported CNA.

MOM assisting Jaynal

Responding to AsiaOne's queries, an MOM spokesperson said that employment agencies are required to obtain employers' written consent before submitting work permit applications and must declare this.

MOM is still investigating the claim that DairyFolks Fresh Milk Suppliers was not aware of Jaynal's work permit application, added the spokesperson.

The ministry has been in touch with Jaynal, who is currently residing at an accommodation provided by MOM, to assist him and check on his well-being, added the spokesperson.

Jaynal has also been told he can look for a new employer and was linked up with the Migrants Workers' Centre to support his job search.

Additionally, the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) is assisting the three other migrant workers employed under the dairy company with their claims for short-payment of salaries and has arranged mediation sessions between the two parties to resolve the issue.

AsiaOne has reached out to TWC2 for comment.

ALSO READ: 'I have to remit money to my family': Migrant worker loses $3,400 after falling for fake police scam

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