BD to send 750,000 workers abroad this year: Minister

Dhaka, Jan 05 – Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment minister Imran Ahmad on Sunday said the government has set a target to send more than 750,000 workers abroad this year.“Our main target is to send skilled manpower and reduce migration cost,” he said at a meet the press organised by Reporters for Bangladeshi Migrants (RBM) at the conference room of the ministry in Eskaton.
“We’re trying to send a diplomatic representative in East Europe as there’s demand. We won’t need to depend much on other destinations if we can fulfil the demand of African countries,” said Imran Ahmed.
He said new labour markets have been opened in seven countries, pointing out that the demand for skilled workers was high. “Steps have been taken to send skilled labours. The markets will expand if we can do this,” he said.
With this goal, 164 technical training centres (TTC) have been set up in 492 Upazilas. The government plans to build TTCs in other Upazilas, he said adding that the ministry is trying to provide internationally-certified training.
Talking about the Japanese labour market, Imran said Bangladesh was sending a small number of workers there.
Bangladesh received more than $16 billion in remittance in the 2018-19 fiscal year, according to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET). Between January and November last year, Bangladeshi workers sent home $ 16.668 billion, the BMET said.
Volatile situations in Iraq and Libya have been bad news for Bangladeshi workers.
“We don’t want any worker to return home in a coffin. We want skilled workers to have the opportunity to go abroad and build a bright future. But the illegal way is not the answer. The right path is BMET,” he said.
While responding to questions about female workers’ security, he said the government has taken a strong stance in this regard. “No female worker returned home last December. It won’t be acceptable that female workers will be tortured and oppressed abroad. The government is working to this end,” he said.
Imran Ahmed said many initiatives have been taken for the welfare of the expatriates. This year, five schools named after Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will be opened abroad. The school in Greece will be launched on March 17.
“This year, (we hope) we’ll be able to break the broker cycle. Workers need to pay them an additional Tk 4-5 lakh. Hopefully, we can stop it,” he said.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Selim Reza said Bangladesh sent 701,000 workers abroad last year.
Cumilla, Brahmanbaria, Chattogram, Tangail and Dhaka saw the highest number of migrant workers in 2019 while Saudi Arabia topped the list of preferred destinations, followed by Oman, Qatar and Singapore.
Forty-four percent of the workers were skilled and 20 percent were semi-skilled. The number of women migrant workers was 111,000, he said, adding that initiatives have been taken for the protection of female workers.
The minister played an important role in attending the Abu Dhabi Dialogue. Record of Discussion with Cambodia, Memorandum of Cooperation with Japan, Agreement on labour cooperation with Seychelles have been signed. Caregivers have been sent to Japan for the first time.
“Successful attempts have been made to reopen labour markets in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. A joint technical meeting was also held effectively with Saudi Arabia,” the secretary said. – UNB