At a Dhaka workshop, experts emphasised arbitration to resolve migration-related allegations of expatriate workers cheated by recruiting agencies or others.
Many immigrant workers are reluctant to file a case as it takes a long time to settle cases, and they want to resolve disputes through arbitration. They say they are struggling to get their due compensation without a structured system to address such matters.
Therefore, experts say, an arbitration framework should be established.
They discussed the matter at the 'Dissemination Workshop on Draft ADB Rules on Overseas Employment and Migrants Act, 2013 to address migration-related disputes', organised by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) at the Intercontinental Hotel, on Wednesday.
At present, one crore Bangladeshis are working abroad. An aggrieved person may lodge a complaint directly or electronically against any person, including recruiting agencies, involved in fraud, illegal acceptance of money, or breach of employment contract, speakers said.
Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry, agreed that arbitration is an effective way for expatriate workers to settle migration- disputes without going to a traditional court.
Better results can be obtained if the work of arbitration is done by the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) and monitored by the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), he added.
He said we have to help expatriate workers so that they get justice.
BMET director general Md Shahidul Alam said, "Recruiting agencies have a lot of power. So, even if expatriates are cheated, they do not dare to complain. We need to stand beside them as they just want fair compensation."
RMMRU executive director, Dr C R Abrar, said the draft rules for arbitration need to be improved further, taking the views of all stakeholders into account.
Md Rafiqul Hasan, joint secretary of the legislative and parliamentary affairs division under the law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry, suggested aggrieved workers have to complain to the government for arbitration which can be investigated within 30 days. The rules would specify how the arbitration would take place.
He said "I talked to a Bangladeshi in Italy. He came to Italy through a recruiting agency for Tk12 lakh, but he did not get the job he was promised. Now he is a hawker in Venice illegally which is very disappointing."
MP, Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary, presided over the function, moderated by advocate Shirin Lira, senior IBP manager and gender & social inclusion adviser of PROKAS, British Council.