The preparation of migrants for successful migration journeys through training and certification should be the key priority in the post-Covid-19 era, speakers said at a regional multi-stakeholder consultation on Thursday.
They said the ongoing pandemic has further exposed the vulnerabilities of migrants and this will definitely have an impact on human mobility in the future.
"Amid pandemic, migrant workers have faced acute challenges, including job losses. So, there needs to be a review of the policy and requirements for workers in both destination and origin countries to ensure a better future," Masud Bin Momen, senior foreign secretary of Bangladesh, said at the programme.
The Bangladesh Civil Society for Migrants, the Migrant Forum in Asia, and the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) jointly organised the virtual event.
"The training and capacity building of workers is the key priority of Bangladesh. So, the government has set up technical training centres. But these centres are mostly running in a traditional line," said the foreign secretary.
Mentioning now the destination countries are designing a technology-driven employment structure, he said, "So, we need more technologically empowered workers to cope with the situation, especially in the Middle East."
The consultation was on the 13th Global Forum on Migration and Development titled "The Future of Human Mobility: Innovative Partnerships for Sustainable Development-Post Covid-19 Reality."
The speakers put emphasis on establishing partnerships to develop the migration policies for attracting highly skilled workers and mapping labour market skill gaps.
"We did not provide sufficient legal protection for migrants in destination countries. There should have uniform laws for migrants all over the world," said Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, chairman of the Standing Committee on the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry.
William Gois, regional coordinator of Migrant Forum in Asia, said, "Thousands of migrants have returned home amid the pandemic but these workers never have the dignity of national heroes.
"What have we done in response to the ongoing crisis?" he questioned, urging the authorities to recognise the contribution of the workers.
The consultation has brought together a range of stakeholders both from Bangladesh and abroad including lawmakers Shameem Haider Patwary and Benjir Ahmed.
Shabarinath Nair, labour migration specialist of the International Labour Organisation; Dr Kamal Uddin Ahmed, member of National Human Rights Commission; Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation; Dr Tasneem Siddiqui, founding chairman of RMMRU; and Akhil Changayil, research lead at the Centre for Indian Migrant Studies, also spoke at the programme.
CR Abrar, chairman of the Bangladesh Civil Society for Migrants and executive director of RMMRU, moderated the consultation.
The Global Forum on Migration and Development can be traced back to the first High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development held in 2006 during the UN General Assembly.
The requirement of a platform for an open and transparent dialogue on migration and development, in an informal, non-binding and state-led framework promoting practical, evidence-based outcomes and cooperation between governments and non-government stakeholders led to the birth of GFMD in 2007.
The Global Forum on Migration and Development operates through the involvement of governments and policymakers from varied backgrounds through a unique participative working method.
The UAE will host the 13th summit (GFMD 2020) on 18-26 January this year under the title "The Future of Human Mobility: Innovative Partnerships for Sustainable Development".