Two day conference on: Labour Migration Governance: Achievements, Lessons Learned and Way Forward concluded on Wednesday with a call to take joint efforts by all stakeholders to ensure good governance in migration.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry in collaboration with Swiss Agency for Development of Cooperation and International Labour Organization organized the conference at a city hotel in Dhaka.
Shabari Nair who recently took up the position of Labour Migration Specialist for South Asia, based in the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team in New Delhi also spoke at the concluding session.
Shabari provides technical advisory services to seven countries in the sub-region: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
EWOE minister Imran Ahmad who inaugurated the conference said that the government would use the country’s Union Information Service Centres to extend migration services to the people’ doorsteps.
He also said that the government was committed to take any programme considering the interest of the country’s migrant workers and their safe migration.
Imran Ahmad said that the government was working to reduce the migration cost of the outbound workers and it would face any challenge in the migration sector.
In the last fiscal year, expatriate Bangladeshi workers have sent home around $15 bn. This was is 17% more than the remittance sent in the previous financial year. Since 1976, Bangladesh began sending workers to the Middle East and South East Asia.
The labour migration industry has grown exponentially but so have the number of problems. In a statement, the International Labour Organization (ILO) stated that vulnerable Bangladeshi migrants often face numerous challenges, such as - high agency or ‘fixer’ fees for low skilled jobs, low wages abroad, lack of information on migration opportunities and risks, discrimination, exploitation and abuse while overseas, and insufficient services to protect the rights of workers.
Speakers at the conference discussed improving the overall management of labour migration and ensure social protection and decent employment conditions for all Bangladeshi migrant workers.
Emphasising on the promotion of decent work, Country Director of ILO Tuomo Poutiainen said: “ILO has a constitutional mandate from 1919 to protect migrant workers. The organization has pioneered the development of international labour standards to guide labour migration policy and protection of migrant workers.”
An Android based app “Jene, Shune, Bidesh Jai” was officially launched at the conference to increase awareness among the people who want to migrate abroad for work.
UN Residence Coordinator Mia Seppo, and ILO Programme Officer Asif Munier also spoke at the opening session of the conference.