The government, on Monday, launched the Returning Migrants Management of Information System (REMIMIS) – a digital platform developed with the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) to store detailed information about returnee migrants in an integrated database.
The need for such a database became crucial when Covid-19 began spreading, and REMIMIS will fulfill this need, Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed said after inaugurating REMIMIS at an event in Dhaka.
The Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) – which organised the inauguration programme – will manage this digital platform, while the bureau's Union Digital Centres and District Employment and Manpower Offices will help collect the information.
BMET data shows that around 4.5 lakh migrants returned to Bangladesh from 29 countries amid the pandemic, after losing their jobs and for other reasons. The majority of them had been working in different Middle Eastern countries.
"We can use this platform to utilise the knowledge and skills of returnee migrants, thereby preventing them from being a burden on the nation," Imran Ahmed said while addressing the event held at the BMET building.
"We invested in training them before they went abroad, and now, we must rely on their skills. I firmly believe that the REMIMIS platform will help us make a proper database of migrants and ensure that citizens who wish to work abroad can do so legally," he added.
Meanwhile, ministry officials present at the programme said this system will allow Bangladesh to strengthen its management of migration-related information. It will also allow stakeholders to assess the skills of any returnee migrant and offer them appropriate employment opportunities.
According to an unofficial estimate, more than one crore Bangladeshi nationals are currently working in various countries across the globe. Among them, around 50 lakh people are now living in Middle Eastern countries.
Present at the event, Secretary to the Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry Ahmed Munirus Saleheen said, "I want to encourage everyone to keep the information in this system updated, and use it to further develop this sector."
BMET Director General Shamsul Alam said, "Through this initiative, stakeholders will help identify migrants who are facing difficulties after returning from abroad due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Additionally, this system can ease the process of delivering services and support to migrants," he continued.
IOM in Bangladesh's Chief of Mission Giorgi Gigauri said, "REMIMIS is a shining example of the Bangladesh government's dedication for ensuring regular, legal and safe immigration in the country."
"This system will allow Bangladesh to boost the security of migrant workers and deliver various services at the community level," he added.
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink said, "REMIMIS will allow the [Bangladesh] Government – in particular its final beneficiary, the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) – to have a clear overview of the status of returnees by: age, sex, education, country of destination, and skills."
"The EU will support its partners and different government agencies to deliver the system's benefits to the target population. The platform will also aid the government in creating policies based on data in the coming days, which in turn will allow returnee migrants to contribute to the country's economic development," she added.
The REMIMIS platform was built under the Prottasha Project – which is funded by the EU. It is a four-year, €15.9 million project launched in 2017 to reintegrate Bangladeshis who have returned from Europe holding irregular status.
The Prottasha Project aims to achieve sustainable reintegration and improved migration governance.