‘Bangladesh’s labour migration sector needs revamping’

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Dhaka, Jan 15: Bangladesh urgently needs to produce skilled migrant workers through reskilling and up-skilling considering the long-term development of the country.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud said this on Thursday.

“The migrant workers sent more than $20 billion in remittance in the last six months of 2020 even amid the pandemic,” the former foreign minister said.

“Now that Covid-19 has changed the demand side in the labour migration sector, we have to educate and train our workers in line with that. Language skill should be a priority.”

Anisul also said major changes should be brought about in this sector. “We have to identify new markets for our migrant workers instead of only depending on the Middle Eastern countries. Our workers have to be trained in the right way so that they can survive in the global market.”

The former minister was addressing the virtual regional multi-stakeholder consultation on the “13th GFMD on the Future of Human Mobility: Innovative Partnerships for Sustainable Development” jointly organised by Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, Bangladesh Civil Society for Migration and Migrant Forum in Asia.

“Around 6-7 lakh people of our country go abroad every year in search of work. We have to set up more training institutes for migrant workers where the teaching of foreign languages will be a priority,” Anisul said.

Parliamentary Caucus on Migration and Development Chair Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary said freedom to bargain is crucial for migrant workers. “But Bangladesh has fallen behind in this area.”

“Also, migrant workers should be equipped with technological knowledge. We have to protect them at all levels as our economy depends on them. So, we need a partnership for reskilling and up-skilling.”

“And workers should be sent abroad based on quota. The people of char and remote areas should get priority,” Shamim said.

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