The government has set a target of sending 12 lakh workers abroad in 2018, Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam said yesterday.
“Our priority is to send skilled workers abroad,” he said at a press briefing. The ministry arranged the press briefing to highlight its achievement in 2017.
“Last year, we sent more than one million [10 lakh] workers to different countries, beating all the previous records of the country,” he said.
“This year we are planning to send 1.2 million [12 lakh] migrant workers.”
Although there are allegations that migrant workers are often becoming victims of fraud gangs and are forced to pay extra in the name of migrant cost, minister Nurul said his ministry is unaware of such allegation.
“We did not receive any allegation in this regard. If we receive an allegation, we will take action against the offenders,” he said.
He further said the ministry has fixed migration costs for 16 countries including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Libya, Bahrain and UAE.
He also said the ministry is putting a greater emphasis on sending more qualified and skilled workers overseas and in order to achieve that objective, the ministry has taken a plan to decentralise its services for aspirant workers all across the country.
Minister Nurul said in light of the goal, his ministry is about to complete a research on the prospect of new labour markets in 52 countries so the country's labour market can be expanded in fresh countries.
Next course of action will be taken based on findings of the report, the minister added.
A record 10 lakh migrant workers including 1.21 lakh women workers were sent abroad in 2017 -- a 33 percent rise compared to the number of workers sent abroad in the previous year, he said.
At present, 1.15 crore Bangladeshis are employed in 165 countries, according to the minister. Migrant worker remittance last year stood at US $13.52 billion, he said.
He urged the finance ministry to offer incentives so that migrant workers feel encouraged to send their money through proper banking channels, enhancing the country's remittance inflow.
Replying to another query, he further said the ministry will also take steps to reduce sufferings of Bangladeshi workers at the airport.
As many as 3,429 dead bodies of Bangladeshi workers were received at the airports in the country last year, he further said.