Leading migration experts on Monday called on the government to protect Bangladeshi migrant workers and diaspora communities from the troubles that they faced abroad.
They also called for steps to link the diaspora communities with the development activities in the country to reap the benefits of migration.
The experts made their remarks at a workshop titled Advancing Development through Partnership and Collective Action: Enriching Migration Cycle in the capital.
The Bangladesh chapter of the International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions, known as INAFI, organised the event in collaboration with the Netherlands chapter of Bangladesh Support Group, known as BASUG.
They described migrants and diaspora community as the great resources of remittances and skills that pushed ahead the country’s economy.
In his welcome address, BASUG International chairman Bikash Chowdhury Barua highlighted the objectives of the Global Compact on Migration to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration.
He called for concerted efforts to make the migration useful for all. Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit executive director Professor CR Abrar of Dhaka University highlighted the problems that Bangladeshi migrant workers and diaspora faced at home and abroad.
He called for forging partnership and collective actions to protect them. He said that the skills that the migrants learned abroad and returned home with must be utilised properly. WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque said that there was no visible initiative of the government to groom skilled workers for overseas jobs.
Due to lack of skills, Bangladeshi workers earn low wages abroad, he said, and recruiting agencies are unduly interested in unskilled workers as they are easily exploitable.
Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program chairman Shakirul Islam said that the government programmes for reintegration of the returnee migrants exited in papers only but not in reality. He called on the government to take immediate steps to bring the vulnerable migrants under the social safety-net programmes.
BASUG country director in Finland Mojibur Doftori said that the Bangladeshi diaspora communities scattered across the world should also be involved with the country’s development activities.
He said that Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Muhammad Yunus and Sir Fazle Hasan Abed were migrants once and they utilised their knowledge and skills earned abroad to change their societies. Migration expert Asif Munir moderated the workshop, addressed among others by INAFI executive director Mahbuba Haque, Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association director Farida Yeasmin, Film4Peace foundation executive director Pervez Siddiqui, Solidarity Center’s program officer Aysha Akter, Helvetas Bangladesh’ representative Farhadul Alam and Sarowat Binte Islam of Manusher Jonno Foundation.
Returned migrant workers, their rights activists and representatives of various organisations were present at the workshop.