Irregularities, fraudulent practices hinder growth
Irregularities on the part of government officials and fraudulent practices by the recruiting agencies have hindered the growth of overseas employment sector, said a study.
The measures undertaken by the government to regulate the activities of private recruiting agencies have also not proved very effective, said the study titled 'Making Bangladesh a leading manpower exporter: Chasing a dream of US$ 30 billion annual migrant remittances by 2015'.
Conducted by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) and sponsored by Royal Danish Embassy in Dhaka, the study said, "Mismanagement and corruption are detrimental to the interest of the workers as well as to the country."
The study was presented by BEI President Farooq Sobhan at a roundtable titled 'Strategy for increasing annual migrant remittance' at BEI auditorium in the capital.
It was attended by different development and migration experts, bankers and high government officials.
Labour attaches posted in different Bangladesh embassies or high commissions have been alleged to be uncooperative, unhelpful and even obstructive in some cases, said the study, adding, "They certainly need to be more proactive in exploring employment markets for Bangladeshi workers."
It said the government organisations responsible for overseas employment have proved to be less than fully effective.
The study recommended that technical training centres run by Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) should be strengthened with more qualified staffs and necessary equipments for giving effective training on trades demanded by labour receiving countries.
It also recommended training for educated unemployed youths to send them abroad for jobs with more emphasis on rural youths.
Demanding of the government to declare overseas employment as a thrust sector, manpower migration experts said an initiative should be taken to frame a unified policy of the labour sending countries and negotiate with the manpower-receiving countries for higher wages and welfare services for the expatriate workers.
They apprehended that overseas employment would not benefit the workers if they have to bear too high cost and get too low salaries.
"Occasional harassment of expatriate workers by the employers of some host countries should be stopped through maintaining constant liaison with the governments of the countries concerned," said BEI President Farooq Sobhan.
He said except Middle East, other areas have not been explored properly for manpower export.
" Besides, the government has not given adequate attention to maximise the remittances received from the migrant workers by sending more skilled workers," he added.
Initiatives were also not successful in preventing Hundi, an unofficial channel for sending money by the expatriate workers, Farooq said, adding that existing rules and regulations were not enforced properly.
Speaking as key discussants, Dr CR Abrar, coordinator of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit of Dhaka University, said a nexus between the employers or their agents and the recruiting agencies or brokers of the receiving and sending countries eat up huge amount of money from the aspirant migrant workers.
The process of sending manpower to Malaysia should also be reviewed, he said.
Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Abdul Matin Chowdhury, Labour and Employment Secretary Ashfaque Hamid, Danish Embassy official Ib Albertsen, Pubali Bank Managing Director Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, Dhaka Ahsania Mission Director Prof Ahmadullah, migration expert Sakiul Millat Morshed and SA Trading Proprietor Abdul Alim also spoke.