Experts for Boosting Quality Migration against Falling Overseas Jobs

Migration experts have suggested the government to support the initiatives for facilitating quality migration of the skilled workers from Bangladesh in the current backdrop of declining overseas jobs.

The unskilled migration lashed with the high migration cost but produced less remittance for sending back to the country, they said.  

The overseas employment continued to decline during February and March of the current year in comparison with the corresponding months of the previous years, according to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training record.

Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment ministry has been worried over declining trend of migration and also started conducting a study to assess the changing scenario, senior officials have said.

They observed that the closure of traditional labour markets including United Arab Emirates and Kuwait as well as prevailing economic recession in the Middle East countries caused falling trend of recruitment.

BMET record that 204, 201 workers have gone to work abroad from January to March this year although over 272,900 workers had migrated in three months in 2017.

The overseas employment started declining since February when 59,382 workers migrated though more than 85,000 workers had migrated in February last year.

BMET data also show that the manpower export reduced by 40 per cent in March in comparing with the last year’s March.

As overseas employment in 2017 crossed the 10 lakh, the EWOE Ministry set target of overseas employment about 15 lakh for current year. The decline in overseas jobs will hamper in achieving the target, said officials.

When asked, Migrant rights organizer and WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque said that the quality migration from Bangladesh with enhancement of skills of the migrant workers should be stressed to reduce the migration cost as well as help boost the inflow of remittance.

The visa trading happening in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries has been increasing the migration cost, he said.

The visa trading which was affecting the remittance inflow should be stopped immediately with joint actions taken by the countries of origins and destinations, said Saiful Haque, also a returnee migrant.

He noted that over 5.5 lakh workers have migrated to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the last year though most of them were employed in the informal sector as they were recruited under so called ‘free visa.’

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) founding chair Tasneem Siddiqui said that if the negative trend of overseas employment continued for the next six months, then it would affect the overall labour migration of Bangladesh.

She, however, suggested the government to continue its efforts to explore new labour markets as well as reopen closed traditional markets for the Bangladeshi workers.

For protecting the migrants’ rights at the destinations, Tasneem Siddiqi ,  also Dhaka University professor of Political Science, said that those issues should be raised at the international forums and bilateral meetings to find the way out.

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