Form a guideline to evaluate their cases | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 28, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:28 AM, January 28, 2021

Migrants Sent Back Involuntarily

Form a guideline to evaluate their cases

Rights group urges govt

Bangladesh Civil Society for Migrants yesterday urged the government to develop a common guideline for case evaluation of migrant workers whom host countries have sent back involuntarily.

The government should look if the visas of workers were expired and if all the dues have been cleared in case of involuntary returns, the platform said.

It said with using data, the government and civil society can launch an international campaign for compensation and payment of wages.

The issues were raised during a webinar on the dissemination of the book "The Other Face of Globalisation: Covid-19, International Labour Migrants and Left-behind Families in Bangladesh".

The webinar was part of the e-symposium series 'Build Back Better' of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU).

The book, published by BCSM and its member organisation RMMRU, highlights the challenges of Bangladeshi migrants due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The book's content includes findings of a survey on 200 male and female migrants, interviews of 25 involuntarily returned migrants, and 30 left-behind female members of migrant households.

The study underscores the need for framing policies both at origin and destination countries to protect the migrants during emergencies.

The platform urged the government to continue generating data on return of migrant workers on annual basis.

It said registration process following due diligence needs to be conducted by Bangladesh missions before the workers are repatriated.

If any unpaid wages and other benefits remain pending, then the missions can take the power of attorney from the migrant and pursue settlements of claims subsequently, it added.

Stressing for one-time cash grant to the left-behind migrant households, the platform urged both civil society and research organisations in Bangladesh to maintain pressure on multilateral bodies to pursue advocacy with the destination countries to suspend involuntary repatriation of migrant workers during global or regional crisis.

It urged international community to push for enactment of emergency protection guidelines mandatory for all labour-receiving and -sending countries.

RMMRU Founding Chair Prof Tasneem Siddiqui said 67 percent of the involuntarily returned migrants left behind their unpaid wages.

Hossain Zillur Rahman, chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC), said registering returnee migrants is an important issue to think about. It is also crucial to think about differentiating returnee migrants, because all of them are not in the same category, he added.

Shameem Haider Patwary, chair of Parliamentarians' Caucus on Migration and Development, said "transitional and transnational" justice mechanism is required to address the issues of "wage theft" and wage-claim.

Gerry Fox, team leader of Prokas project of British Council, said the book is an "impressive piece" of work that incorporates strong information, based on research.

Moderated by BCSM Chair and RMMRU Executive Director Prof CR Abrar, the webinar was addressed -- among others -- by Additional Secretary Motahar Hossain of the Expatriates' Welfare Ministry, and migrant rights activists from home and abroad.

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