Rights activists and returnee migrants and their families yesterday demanded that the government take effective measures to reduce economic and social costs of labour migration.
The cost for low skilled Sri Lankan migrants is equal to one month's earnings in Kuwait and for Indians 2.5 months' but for Bangladeshis it is 9 months', said RMMRU Executive Director Prof CR Abrar.
He was highlighting the issues at a public hearing the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) organised for the purpose in the capital's Cirdap auditorium.
Since 2013, Bangladeshis have been paying the highest amount, around Tk 12 lakh, to find jobs in Saudi Arabia while it is on an average Tk 3.5 lakh for other Middle Eastern countries, he added.
Some returnee migrants and their families alleged being exploited through excessive charging by recruiting agents, which was “really difficult to earn even in two or three years”.
They demanded that the government establish a mechanism to reduce the irrational migration costs.
Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque expressed deep concern over the environments being faced by Bangladeshi workers in war torn countries like Libya, Iraq and Syria. He underscored the need for concerted efforts of government and civil society to ensure safe migration.
The RMMRU founding chairperson, Tasneem Siddiqui, chairing the programme, observed that migrants endured a lot of economic and social costs that was not always acknowledged.
Jabed Ahmed, additional secretary to the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare And Overseas Employment, also spoke.