Vol. 5 Num 829 Mon. September 25, 2006  

Explore job market for migrant workers
Speakers urge govt

The government should explore job market abroad for the migrant workers and implement the Overseas Employment Policy in accordance with the UN high-level dialogue held earlier this month, said speakers at a views sharing meeting yesterday.

They said though the government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Malaysia and is now sending workers, the female workers are left out in the agreement.

Bangladesh Ovibashi Mohila Sramik Association (Bomsa) in association with Manusher Jonno organised the views sharing meeting titled 'Steps to implement Overseas Employment Policy and United Nations (UN) high level dialogue' at the BOESL auditorium in the city.

State Minister for Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Lutfor Rahman Khan Azad was present as the chief guest while Joint Secretary Amir Hossain, President of Refugee and Migrant Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) Dr Tasneem Siddiqui, Director General of Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Ltd (BOESL) Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, Project Coordinator of Manusher Jonno Zakir Hossain and Abdul Alim of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) were also present.

"There is a great demand abroad for female workers in the manufacturing, textile and nursing sectors and the government needs to seek job market for the Bangladeshi unskilled and semi-skilled workers," said Dr Tasneem Siddiqui.

The government also needs to streamline labour recruitment to increase pre-departure training and to increase awareness in this regard, she said, adding that civil society and other rights organisations should be included for better advancement.

Hailing the newly formulated Overseas Employment Policy, the speakers said if the policy is implemented properly, it can ensure secure job market for the Bangladeshi workers abroad.

"The government has been taking care of the issue of female migrant workers' safety with much concern and if the female workers go legally and with a clearance of the welfare fund, they can get compensation in case they are abused," said Amir Hossain.

"At the same time, the government is going to start a resource centre so that the aspirant migrant workers can have information about safe migration," he said adding that a sizable number of female migrant workers have the experience of being abused abroad and deceived.

"If the aspirant migrant workers get pre-departure training and if they become skilled, they will not be exploited or abused by their masters abroad," he said, adding that language problem is the main barrier for Bangladeshi female migrant workers.

Some migrant women workers, who were exploited and abused by the brokers, fake agencies and their masters abroad, and came back in empty hand, narrated their tales of misfortune.

Journalist Mahmuda Chowdhury presided over the views sharing meeting while Project Director of Bomsa Sumaiya Islam moderated it.