July 2, 2022

The government has decided to get Bangladeshis living abroad with families registered to bring them under converge of the welfare fund run by the wage earners’ welfare board, said officials.

The registration of the Bangladeshi diaspora would entitle them to get wage earners’ welfare board’s membership by paying fees in foreign currency the amount of which would be fixed later, said officials.

The board provides welfare services to the migrant workers using the fund  that was created with contributions deducted from them at different stages.

Officials said that Bangladeshi diaspora includes Bangladeshis living abroad and their descendents.

Expatriates welfare and Overseas Employment ministry officials said that the registration of the Bangladesh diaspora would begin after the formulation of the guidelines.

They said that the Bangladeshi diaspora would be encouraged to contribute to Bangladesh economy.

EWOE ministry joint secretary for mission and welfare  Mohammad Azharul Haque said that the government decided to get all the Bangladeshis living abroad registered.

He said that the welfare board was drafting the guidelines for the enlistment of the non-resident Bangladeshis.

The registration of the Bangladeshi diaspora would begin soon, he said.

The Bangladeshi nationals would be asked for registration at all Bangladesh missions abroad or at wage earners welfare board through online, he added.

A senior official said that the Bangladeshi diaspora would be  encouraged to invest in Bangladesh.

The government drew sharp criticism for the decision to extend welfare services to all the Bangladeshis living abroad using the fund created with money taken from the migrant workers.

The government should create a separate welfare fund for the better organized and wealthier Bangladeshi diaspora with contributions from them, said founding chairperson of Dhaka University’s Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit Tasneem Siddiqui.

Tasneem, also DU  professor of political science, suggested that  they could realize registration fee from each diaspora member at rates four times it deducts from a migrant worker at the time of their departure.

The government decision was, however, welcomed by WARBE  Development Foundation, which campaigns for the rights of migrants.

WARBE chairman Syed Saiful Haque called for involving the ministries of foreign and home affairs as well as expatriate welfare and the country’s missions abroad with the registration of the educated, skilled and solvent diaspora.

Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program chairman Shakirul Islam said  it was far from clear why the government suddenly became interested to provide the welfare benefits to the better off Bangladeshi disapoira using the migrant workers’ fund.

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