Take care of migrant workers, help explore new job markets | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, October 20, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, October 20, 2009

Take care of migrant workers, help explore new job markets

Minister tells labour attachés

Minister for Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain yesterday asked the labour attachés in Bangladesh missions abroad to take care of migrant workers proactively and help explore new overseas job markets.
“The expatriate workers face multifaceted difficulties abroad starting from language, food, culture. Everything goes against them. But a little support from you can give them strength to face new challenges,” he told the labour attachés at the inaugural session of a training programme.
The 3-day training for labour attachés has been organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (Unifem) at The Westin Hotel in the city.
Thirteen labour attachés of Bangladesh missions in the Middle East and South East Asian countries are attending the programme.
Stating that the expatriate workers, who make enormous contributions to the country's economy, face difficulties in every process of migration, Mosharraf said labour officials are the only men to look after the migrants who often do not get adequate wage and work extra hours to make up their cost.
Addressing the session as chief guest, the minister called upon the officials to be careful in checking the genuineness of overseas job orders and the wages the employers are offering.
“The cost will decrease tremendously if these issues are checked carefully,” he said, asking the labour attachés to look for new jobs where “we can prepare our people, but in no way labour welfare side should be neglected.”
The minister also told them to give special attention to female migrant workers.
“As soon as they arrive in a foreign land, you receive them, give them a mobile number telling that they could contact them for any problem,” he added.
Secretary to expatriates' welfare ministry Elias Ahmed said, “You might not feel very comfortable while talking to workers, but keep in mind that they are the ones who are working hard and sending home money. You should be proactive to listen to their problems, instead of trying to solve after any problem arises.”
IOM Regional Representative for South Asia Rabab Fatima said the three- day training programme will be utilised to review the resources, tools and mandate available to labour attachés in discharging their responsibilities efficiently.
“Keeping in mind the benefits that international migration has to offer, we owe to migrant workers to provide them with services that make their migration experience orderly and beneficial,” she said.
Around 6.5 million Bangladeshi expatriates sent home $9.01 billion last year, which is over $7 billion as of September this year.
Labour migration last year was around 8.75 lakh, but the number decreased by 47 percent until this year compared to the corresponding period of last year mainly due to global recession.
Unifem Bangladesh's National Programme Manager Naheed Ahmed also spoke.

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