Controlling remittance outflow to India | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 08, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Controlling remittance outflow to India

Controlling remittance outflow to India

Bangladesh, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), remittance, large remittance outflows,

CENTRE for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has recommended that the government should form a committee to investigate the large remittance outflows to India. This remittance is fully legal and is sent by the 500,000 or so Indians who work in Bangladesh.

It is reported that Bangladesh stands 5th among the 15 nations sending remittances to India after UAE, USA, Saudi Arabia and UK. In 2013, remittance from Bangladesh to India was about $ 3.716 billion. Is it not amazing? However, that is the official figure. According to other sources, an almost equal amount, if not more, is sent through hundi and other illegal methods.

We often hear from Indian media and politicians that it is only Bangladeshis who migrate to India and take jobs in that country. They call the illegal immigrants “vote banks,” referring to some political parties that, they say, ignore the problem because of political reasons. Their allegation may be true to some extent, but what about Indians living and earning their bread in Bangladesh? Many Indian citizens are taking jobs in Bangladeshi through foreign companies, NGOs and other legal and illegal businesses. Bangladeshis generally do menial jobs in India and contribute to the economy through hard work in exchange for meagre wages, whereas most Indians are gainfully employed in attractive jobs in Bangladesh, earning handsomely and remitting millions of dollars to India.

People migrate to faraway places for a better life, and there is no harm in it. But the problem is that the Bangladesh government does not have a strict labour policy, or control over migrant labourers. No doubt controlling illegal migrant workers is not possible in a country where administration is weak and there is alleged corruption.

But what about well paid jobs in Bangladesh that foreigners, mostly Indians, take away from Bangladeshis? We have Indians gainfully employed with foreign companies, NGOs, garment sector, trading and almost all branches of business. They also have shops and business houses all over Bangladesh.

Foreigners, mostly Indians, employed in Bangladesh do not do any specialised job but ordinary administrative work in all levels, for which there is no shortage of Bangladeshi candidates. For example, why does a British company need to appoint an Indian as a clerk or a junior level officer when there are many qualified people in the country who can do that job perfectly well? Does not Bangladesh need to control this? But how? I can give examples from Sweden and explain how the country overcomes such problems.  

Generally, no job in Sweden is given to a foreigner when a candidate with proper qualification that the job demands is available in the country. However, there are always exceptions for highly qualified jobs. In such cases, any EU citizen (and sometimes anybody) can apply, and the best one is given the job as per the EU directive. Nevertheless, it is normal that the Swedish candidate is favoured most of the times and gets the job. What is most important is that anybody working in Sweden (and in most EU countries) must have work and residence permit. Thus, the government knows how many foreigners work in Sweden and how many of them have residence and work permit. It is a way of checking illegal immigrants and maintaining full control over the job market.

Bangladesh can control its job market by careful planning and introducing “Work and Residence Permit” for foreigners. For example, if an Indian company needs a junior officer let it bring him from India with proper documents indicating that he is an Indian citizen and the company needs the person for a particular skill s/he possess. The company may not bring and hire someone from Singapore or Sri Lanka when such a skilled person is available in Bangladesh. A foreign company has a right to bring and employ people from the mother country, but employing a person from a 3rd country must not be allowed. Thus, Bangladesh can obtain many attractive and well-paid jobs for its citizens. The basic idea of foreign investment is for generating jobs, but if those jobs are taken away by foreigners what is the need for foreign investment?

Controlling foreign workers in Bangladesh is an utmost necessity for protecting Bangladeshi job market for Bangladeshi people. In our economy can we afford to offer jobs to foreigners when we don't have jobs for ourselves? I am not suggesting making Bangladesh an “Iron Curtain” land, but we must do something that can safeguard job interest of our people, especially when the employment situation in the country is so appalling.

Sent from Sweden.

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