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11 October, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Migration cost for Bangladeshis still one of highest in world: IOM

Diplomatic Correspondent

Bangladesh is still among the few countries in the world that has the highest financial costs for migration, said the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

These costs for male migrants can potentially shoot up to Tk 7 lakh (700,000) and for female migrants to Tk 95,000, according to a recent study on recruitment practices in Bangladesh conducted by the IOM, the United Nations migration agency.

The study has been carried out under the scope of the project ‘Prottasha- Bangladesh Sustainable Reintegration and Improved Migration Governance’ funded by the European Union.

Moreover, it said that while monthly salary expectations of Bangladeshi migrant workers range from Tk 25,000 to Tk  1 lakh (1,00,000), they eventually end up earning somewhere between Tk 15,000 to Tk 30,000.

The study highlighted that potential migrants depend more on middlemen than directly contacting the recruiting agencies despite these agents not being licensed or having legal entities within the system. Migrants at large believe that these middlemen are linked with the recruiting agencies and since many of them are returnee migrants, they are well acquainted with the system.

Lack of appropriate knowledge, influence of middlemen coupled with inability to pursue skilled jobs at countries of destination are often forcing migrants to accept low wages and poor working environment.

“The enormous cost of migration only makes a migrant more vulnerable,” said the deputy Bangladesh chief of IOM Sharon Dimanche.

“A process of eradicating the various layers of stakeholders in recruitment, ensuring ethical recruitment practices and bringing work permits and visa processing under a clear mechanism could potentially act as the catalysts for the solution, she said, noting that the international recruitment integrity system (IRIS), developed by IOM is an effective tool to identify and support ethical labour recruiters and to bring transformative changes in the international recruitment industry.

Recently, the civil society organisations have been advocating for regularisation of middlemen in the system, a replication of the initiatives taken by neighbouring Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

However, the study found that the model examples of Sri Lanka and Pakistan were unsuccessful and recommends a more careful long-term approach towards regularisation of middlemen. In order to support the government’s vision of having a well governed migration management system in Bangladesh, the IOM believes that it is important for countries to look into global tools like IRIS be applied in local context to ensure ethical recruitment practices.

“The government including key stakeholders should come together to assess what role middlemen would play before they are integrated within the system.” said additional secretary of the expatriate welfare ministry Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen.

“We can no longer keep sending low skilled migrants,” said the secretary general of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) Shameen Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, adding, “Focus must be put on sending skilled workers – those with higher communication and physical skill-sets.”

Syed Saiful Haque, chairman and founder member of WARBE Development Foundation, highlighted the need for more bilateral and multilateral efforts with countries of destination. He also reiterated the importance of IOM’s role in ensuring ethical recruitment practices with the upcoming adaptation of Global Compact on Migration.  

BAIRA president Benjir Ahmed stressed the need for a more coordinated approach and requested the government and international community to intervene in the complex visa trading process that has evolved due to syndicates of exploiters both in countries of origin and destination.

The event was attended by representatives from the Government of Bangladesh, private sector, UN agencies, NGOs/CSOs, development partners and migrant communities.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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