Foreign Minister Dr Ak Abdul Momen today said migrants are never a burden rather they are the partners of development, engine of creativity and innovation.
"They create jobs and help the growth of the economy," said Dr Momen at the Virtual Pre-GFMD 2020 National Consultation, organised by Parliamentary Caucus on Migration and Development.
He was the Chief guest of the programme. Benjir Ahmed, MP, president, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA), Masud Bin Momen, foreign secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Former Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque were also present.
Israfil Alam, Chairman of Parliamentary Caucus on Migration and Development alongside the organisations' Secretary General and other Members were present too.
The foreign minister emphasised that Bangladesh has always been playing a leading role in migration as Bangladesh considers migration as an integral path to develop both for the country of origin and the country of destination.
Under the leadership of the Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh played a key role in the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) and the New York Declaration (NYD).
"The Government of Bangladesh has been working continuously in line with the recommendations of major international processes and is an active participant in various regional and sub-regional platforms," said the minister.
"We have included migration in our national policies like 5-year plans and Perspective Plan due to its multidimensional socio-economic aspects and strong relation with our foreign policy objectives."
Dr Momen further said Bangladesh will continue to promote safe, regular and orderly migration at domestic, regional and global level.
"Due to the proactive measure of the government, we now have the highest amount of inward remittance," added Dr Momen.
"Currently, it is in the high priority of the Government of Bangladesh to skill our prospective migrant workers and up skill and re-skill the returnee migrants for a successful migration journey through training and capacity building," said Dr Momen.
The United Arab Emirates, the current Chair of GFMD has identified six themes - which have special significance, in particular in the context of post Covid-19 period - for the upcoming GFMD summit with a key objective to remain future focused, to establish partnerships and cooperation between countries and other stakeholders.
The minister applauded UAE's lead in organizing five online regional consultations saying: "We further appreciate UAE's initiative through which GFMD Migration Lab has been used to identify opportunities to use partnerships to tackle migration-related challenges and investigate options for putting them into practice."
Focusing on the issue that Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries due to climatic change the foreign minister said, "a large number of our population is being displaced due to erratic climate changes every year and we call them climate migrants. As per varieties of estimate, if there is one metre rise in sea level, nearly 25 to 30 million people of Bangladesh will be uprooted from their sweet homes."
The minister reiterated the fact that Bangladesh cannot handle such a huge uprooted population alone.
"We need effective and proactive support from the international community. No wonder, Bangladesh would like to see more tangible outcomes from this year's GFMD so that people all over can understand the significance and benefit of having GFMD."
Dr Momen further said the government is focused to take advantage of technology for the welfare of the migrant workers at all stages of migration especially during their stay abroad.
"We would definitely like to be better equipped with the support of technology and for that, we have introduced different apps," added the foreign minister.
The Government has also been working to improve the data management by developing a more comprehensive database and connecting various ICT-based information services to aid with the aspirant and returnee migrants and to ensure their protection.
Dr Momen urged that they need to highlight these aspects during the forthcoming summit and requested all to raise these issues at the roundtables and other discussions, for a meaningful workable outcome.
The foreign minister further raised the issue of migrants who lost their job and were in great difficulties as they were not covered by the social safety nets of the countries of destination amidst Covid-19.
He said a large number of migrant workers were living or forced to live in a crowded environment which was risky for transmission of the virus.
The minister urged GFMD to take a right-based approach and include protection measures in the migration policies to see effective international governance of migration and to address the gaps to protect migrants.
"Migrant workers need to be included in the social and judicial protection system of the countries of destination to address the gap. We need to ensure migrants' rights from the early stage of ethical recruitment to wage, health and job protection," said Dr Momen.
He said for that to happen, the international community should play key role through platforms like GFMD so those migrant workers are well covered by legal mechanisms in the host countries.
In addition, he said GFMD can play a crucial and proactive role in effective implementation of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) which is a landmark initiative for migrants' protection.
Dr Momen hoped that this consultative meeting with the engagement of the civil society members will bring forth a number of constructive recommendations for a coherent migration and development approach to place during the 13th GFMD Summit and highlight the concerns and recommendations of Bangladesh.
Since its inception in 2007, GFMD has continued to demonstrate its worth as a global platform for generating trust, confidence and cooperation on international migration among the global community.
As GFMD provides a voluntary, non-binding and government-led process, the member states, civil societies and other stakeholders can freely engage in the process in an effective manner.