Migration overseas for jobs has declined by around 27 percent this year from the scenario last year, according to a research.
The shrinking labour market, a lack of skilled manpower, competitiveness with other South Asian nations and the return of women migrants from Saudi Arabia following abuse are some major factors responsible for the decline, said Tasneem Siddiqui, professor of political science in Dhaka University, while launching the study report at the Jatiya Press Club yesterday.
A little over 6.14 lakh men and women went to Gulf and Middle Eastern countries until October this year, the report says referring to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET).
If the rate of migration remains unchanged, this year's migration would be 27 percent less than last year's, said the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit in the report.
However, Tasneem said, there was no reflection of this in the foreign remittance since migrants begin sending remittance a year after joining work. This year's remittance from migrant workers until November is $14.34 billion, up from last year's $13.53billion.
Saudi Arabia topped the list of destinations with 33.6 percent migrants flying in from here, followed by Malaysia. The second largest destination for migrant workers received 1.55 lakh Bangladeshis, almost double the number of migrants who went there last year.
The women migration rate was likely to see a 20.03 percent drop from last year.
Harrowing tales of women migrants in the print and electronic media upon their return from Saudi Arabia have discouraged migration to the country. The Middle Eastern nation has been receiving a larger chunk of unskilled women labourers as housemaids since 2015.
Asked about possible legal actions against abuse of the returnees, Tasneem said the government could help them file lawsuits in the destination country against abusers and follow the legal procedure by deploying lawyers, interpreters and arranging the victims' safe living there until the end of the court proceedings.
Wage Earners Welfare Fund can be used to bear the expenditures, she added.
Regarding the decline in the number of men going overseas for jobs, the report cites Saudi Arabia shutting its door to foreign workers in 12 sectors and the United Arab Emirates not receiving workers other than housemaids.
The government should focus on developing skilled manpower so that other labour markets like Japan and South Korea are opened up for Bangladeshi migrants, said eminent jurist Shahdeen Malik, who was present as the chief guest at the report launching.
The report also suggests that the ruling Awami League, in its election manifesto, didn't give much priority to migrant workers' rights whereas the Jatiya Oilyafront promised to ensure their voting rights, training, remedy to their complaints, special facilities at the airport, incentives to invest and to facilitate bringing back dead bodies of migrants.