The International Trade Union Confederation Bangladesh Council (ITUC-BC) has called for ensuring the safe migration of expatriate workers.
Bangladesh, which officially started sending workers abroad in 1976, has enacted various laws and regulations on immigration but has yet to ensure the safety of such workers, highlighted the union at a programme on Sunday.
The ITUC-BC organised a consultation meeting with the Labour Rights Journalists Forum on Migration issues and launched a website for Migrant Recruitment Adviser at the Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) in the capital.
At the event, Shakil Akhtar Chowdhury, national coordinator at the Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA), said written documents must be ensured at the time of immigration-related payments.
"The demand letters [sent by companies operating abroad] have to be properly assessed. A copy of the job contract must be issued in advance so that a worker can properly read and understand the contents before signing it," he added.
Shakil mentioned migrant workers sent home some $23 billion dollars in remittances last year.
"It is the responsibility of all concerned, to ensure that workers can go abroad safely and easily. The rights of our workers going abroad must be protected so as to achieve the SDGs. Only safe migration can ensure a successful migration," he added.
Although Bangladeshis have travelled to and worked in around 174 countries, there are only 29 labour welfare wings in just 26 Bangladesh missions.
"Resources need to be increased to assure proper services, protection, and safety of migrant workers and their rights," Shakil went on.
Dr Anis Ahmed, a consultant forensic psychiatrist at NHS, England, said "Workers who go to work abroad from Bangladesh often do not get social status and suffer from depression."
"To provide counselling, the government needs to set up expatriate help desks in every country where there should be people who can speak Bengali," he added.