Bulgaria, a country in south-eastern Europe, is hiring skilled manpower from Bangladesh with the promise of handsome salaries. As of now, the European market remains one of the top export destinations of Bangladeshi readymade garments (RMG) products.

But this is the first time that Bangladeshi RMG workers are about to start their occupational journey to a European country.
The move reaffirms the presumption that major brands and buyers in Europe and the United States are shifting their focus to nearshoring and automation.

According to a recent report by the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company, global apparel brands and retailers have to ramp down RMG imports from Asian countries in order to sustain themselves.

“This is the first official move to recruit RMG workers from Bangladesh by any European country,” said Faruque Hassan, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

Bulgarian firms took this initiative as most buyers want to source products from near-shore to reduce the lead-time – the time between the initiation and completion of a production process.

“We think everyone has the right to choose a better life. The job offers from the Bulgarian factories will help workers to make a good living. At the same time, we are also training more people to make a skilled workforce”, he added.
He, however, mentioned that a small number of Bangladeshi nationals are working at some garment factories in England.
Primarily, two Bulgarian companies- AntoanVill and Mizia-96AD – are recruiting 100 workers at a salary of $460 (Tk45,000) per month. The recruitment process has already started under the supervision of the Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited (BOESL).

These companies are looking for proficient workers, especially swing machine operators, pressing machine operators and textile tailors, according to BOESL sources.

The income of an RMG worker in Bangladesh hovers around Tk8,000 to Tk8,420. Those who will be recruited by Bulgaria will earn five times more than they make in the country.

As per the terms of employment, the tenure of the contract will be for a maximum of three years and is renewable every time. In addition to the monthly salary, airfare, a $50 monthly allowance for meals and a separate room for the accommodation of 3-4 people will be provided by the company.

However, electricity and water bills have to be borne by the workers. Compensation for workplace accidents and other matters will be applicable in accordance with Bulgarian labour law.

Both male and female candidates, aged from 20 to 35 years, are eligible to compete in the recruitment process.
The total migration cost is Tk52,740, including the Tk42,000 service charge of BOESL.

According to the stakeholders, BOESL, a state-owned labour exporting company, is charging too much for the migration, just like private recruiters.
Banani Biswas, general manager (Overseas Employment) of BOESL, said, “Even though they are hiring 100 workers at the moment, we are hoping to send more in the future.”