Putting emphasis on the registration of migrant workers, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged job seekers to go overseas, equipped with the requisite skills and having the accurate information at their disposal about their work, while avoiding getting entrapped by middlemen and agents.
To this end, the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry and the recruiting agents must play a critical role, she added while addressing an inauguration event held to mark International Migration Day 2020.
The event is observed globally, as well as in Bangladesh, on 18 December every year, but the ministry held the event this Wednesday at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC), read a press release.
Sheikh Hasina, speaking as the chief guest via video conference from Ganabhaban, asked the migrant workers not to fall victim to various temptations."
"The government has set up digital centers across the country for migrant worker registration. But you must be patient. The government will send all registered persons overseas whenever appropriate work opportunities come up," she said.
The prime minister also emphasised on skills development and said that migrant workers could secure better-paid jobs if they attained the right skills through training before going overseas.
"We have already undertaken quite a few initiatives across the country to skill-up overseas-bound candidates for foreign jobs. So, don't try to go abroad illegally," she said.
The prime minister pointed out that the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry and relevant entities organise necessary trainings in an attempt to acclimate migrant workers with their overseas jobs.
Unfortunately, these workers do not take the training seriously. All they care about is collecting their certificates at the end of the training; once they land overseas, they find themselves in trouble, she noted.
She directed the relevant ministries and organizations to strengthen their monitoring and oversight of the overseas-bound workers, making sure they are equipped with the right skills and qualifications prior to departure.
Sheikh Hasina cautioned those who deal with migrant workers to treat their fellow countrymen with dignity and respect.
"You (ministry and agencies) should ensure that the jobs are legitimate, and that workers' safety is guaranteed, especially for female employees. I request you all to fulfill your responsibilities with sincerity and dedication for their sake," she said.
The government maintains a policy to highlight the contribution made by Bangladesh's migrant workers, said Sheikh Hasina. She pointed out that during her foreign visits, she never hesitates to emphasize the pivotal role played by Bangladeshi migrant workers in the country's economy and development.
Given the government's establishment of three banks for the convenience of Non-Resident Bangladeshis, the prime minister urged them to boost investment in the country.
"Aside from several facilities, we have made it easier for NRBs to bring money home," she said, adding "The government is providing support in multiple ways, so I encourage all of you (NRBs) to invest in production of digital devices and other equipment in Bangladesh."
Sheikh Hasina requested NRBs and migrant workers to send money to the country through legal channels, indicating that the government has decreased remittance charges and introduced several options to send remittance back to the country, e.g., the provision of 2% stimulation.
She said that since 2009, the government has recognized 155 NRBs as Commercially Important Persons (CIP) for sending back the highest remittance and investment amounts.
With Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad, MP in the chair, Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment secretary Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen gave welcome remarks.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud was also present at BICC. Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam and relevant officials were present at Ganabhaban.
On behalf of the prime minister, Imran Ahmad handed over stipend cheques to the children of migrant workers, while crests and certificates were presented to three non-resident Bangladeshis for making the highest investment and sending the highest remittance amount through legal means.