Overseas employment of Bangladeshi workers in September this year dropped to the lowest point since August 2015, falling short of the government’s expectations.
According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, the number of workers who went to work abroad this September is 46,415, the lowest number last seen 25 months ago when 41,765 workers migrated.
As many as 55,879 workers took overseas employment in September 2016.
Officials and migration experts have blamed shrinking job opportunities abroad, especially in the Middle Eastern countries, lingering economic recession, fall of oil price and war-like situation in the region for the decline.
They urged the government to make realistic efforts to explore alternative new labour markets in Europe, Canada, Asia-Pacific region and East Asian countries for skilled migrant workers from Bangladesh.
BMET records show that this year the highest number of 1,06,501 workers migrated in March while the second highest 95,485 workers went in April and the third highest 93,341 workers went in August.
BMET director Nurul Islam told New Age that the government was cautiously sending workers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as some Bangladeshi workers had been facing challenges finding jobs after landing in the country.
He, however, added that country-specific analyses were required to identify the causes of decline in manpower export.
Mohammad Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi migrant who is currently employed by a company in Jeddah, told New Age over phone that job opportunities had shrank for migrant workers in the kingdom.
‘Many migrant workers used to work overtime after completing their eight-hour job, but now such jobs are hardly available,’ he said.
Migrant rights activist Syed Saiful Haque, chairman of WARBE Development Foundation, told New Age, ‘Due to the scarcity of company visas for Bangladeshi workers, most of them have been going abroad on individual visas, which has increased the migration costs as well as are causing problems in the destination countries.’
He added that the labour attachés at Bangladesh missions abroad should authenticate the demand letters after investigating the workplaces.
He stressed the need for ensuring safe and quality migration of Bangladeshi workers so that they could earn better and face less challenges abroad.
Migration rights activist Pervez Siddiqui, chairman of non-profit Films4Peace Foundation, told New Age that economic crisis in the labour-recipient countries, especially in the Middle Eastern nations, had contributed to the decline of job opportunities for Bangladesh workers.
The government should make efforts to send chefs to work in the restaurants owned by Bangladeshis in the United Kingdom and other European countries, he said, adding that Bangladeshi workers providing quality trade skills could also be sent to East European and East Asian countries.
There are about 1,500 restaurants owned by Bangladeshis in the UK alone, he said.