Overseas job agencies closing in 2009

According to some observers from Yangon, most official overseas job agencies will not extend their license this year. There are currently 132 officially registered overseas employment agencies operating in Yangon. Among them, at least half are probably not going to extend their license this year, according to one overseas job agent from Kyauktada Township in Yangon. The reason, he said, is difficulty finding jobs for the workers overseas. All of them have to extend their license every year.

“Since last year, overseas job vacancies become very few. Last year December was worse. This year, there are no vacancies from our overseas agents”, said one of the employee from an overseas job agency from Kamayut Township.

In the past, each agency can send around 30 to 40 workers to Malaysia, but last year, it is very difficult to send even 3 or 4 workers. In some months, there are no demand for jobs.

Out of 132 registered overseas job agents operating in Yangon, more than 70 send workers to Malaysia, and the rest send to Singapore, Quarter, Dubai, UAE and other countries. Currently, job demand from Malaysia is dropping too low that the job agencies are struggling just to survive. As there are now no demand from Malaysia for overseas workers, and very low demand from Singapore, thousands of job applications are stranded in the offices of the job agencies in Yangon, said one job agent.

“Most people want to go to Malaysia. There are many rubber plantations and agricultural farms in Malaysia. Some people also want to go to Singapore, but not as many as Malaysia. As there are now very few demand from these countries, there are very tough competition to get jobs now”, said him.

Some agencies that send workers to Quarter, UAE and Dubai are still working, but for others, business is not good.

In addition to the difficulty sending workers to overseas job markets, the overseas employment agencies are also facing difficulty in getting their license extended due to a restriction from the Labour Ministry. According to the Labor Ministry regulation, the license can be extended only if the agency can send a minimum of 300 workers in the last year. Even if the Labour Ministry reduce this regulation, it is unlikely that many agencies will extend their license as the future is not so promising, said one agent.

Currently, there are no job demand for factories, farms and plantations from Malaysia, and only very few for restaurants.

Although there is currently no job demand from overseas job markets, some of the job agencies are still recruiting applicants for the time when the economy become better. One famous agency from Yangon, Thukha Su San agency, is recruiting 150 workers to Malaysia and 600 to Singapore, although they still cannot find jobs for these recruits at present. The applicants would have to wait 3 to 4 months to get the job offer, said one employee.

Most Myanmar workers go and work in Malaysia. Now, Malaysia is also facing financial problems and are planning to cut 45,000 jobs after the Chinese New Year. Due to economic problems, Malaysia will not recruit any more foreign workers, and the first jobs to be cut will be foreign workers, according to Strait Times.

“I have been waiting to get the job offer for three months already, but till no job offer yet”, said a 27 year old young man from Yangon who contacted one job agency to go and work in Malaysia.

With the falling prices of rice grain in Myanmar this year, many rice farmers from Irrawaddy Division are abandoning their traditional jobs and trying to go and work in the Malaysia.

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