WARBE chairman calls for gearing up migration diplomacy
Syed Saiful Haque

Bangladesh should immediately start migration diplomacy to overcome the negative impact on the overseas employment due to the coronavirus outbreak, WARBE chairman Syed Saiful Haque has said.

In an exclusive interview with migrationnewsbd.com, the rights activist said the outbreak of COVID-19 has seriously affected the overseas labour market which annually brings in huge amount of foreign remittance.

The country’s economic development and prosperity widely depends on it, he said.

The country received around $18 billion in remittance in the last year.

Saiful Haque said many migrants could not go abroad to join work while a significant number of migrants return home since the outbreak of the coronavirus in March.

Officials said around 200,000 migrant workers came home on leave, but they could not return to their workplaces. After completing all procedures, around 100,000 new workers could not go to their destination countries. Moreover, around 100,000 more migrants returned home between April and August.

WARBE chairman said the destination countries have also been hit hard by the pandemic.

“We have to use our embassies and labour attaches to explore new employment opportunities. The missions have to be up and doing as soon as the destination countries start economic activities following the improvement of coronavirus situation,” he suggested.

The rights activist, a former migrant, said the Middle East countries including Dubai and Abu Dhabi are trying to resume economic activities. The construction work will start.

The skilled manpower has to be sent, he said adding the country can bring in a good amount of remittance by sending skilled.

Saiful said Bangladeshi migrants go to around 167 countries to work. But the government has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with only 11 to 12 countries to send migrants.

“We want to see MoUs with at least 100 countries”.

He said the migrants have to fall in trouble in absence of MoU. The Vietnamese returnees have to go to jail, he cited an example saying ‘we cannot hold the destination country responsible.’

Saiful Haque said there are about 1,800 recruiting agencies.

He said the government has to monitor the activities of the recruiting agencies so that they cannot cheat with the migrants.

The government has to stop visa trading to ensure recruitment in a proper way and reduce the migration cost, Saiful Haque suggested.

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