Bangladesh wants community and legal coverage of migrant workers in vacation spot countries during emergency situations including the Covid-19 pandemic which has exposed the sheer vulnerability of migrants abroad.
"Migrant workers need to be contained in the public and judicial protection program of the countries of destination to address the gap. We must ensure migrants' rights from the early level of ethical recruitment to wage, health insurance and job protection," Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said today.
His comment comes ahead of the Global Discussion board on Migration and Production (GFMD) to be hosted by the UAE from January 18 to 24. The UN-led forum will likely be held at the same time when constraints on migrants have already been increasing as a result of pandemic.
About 400,000 Bangladeshi migrants returned home, mostly empty-handed, because the pandemic commenced in March this past year, while scopes for overseas jobs have declined significantly. Many of those who had come home on keep remained stranded.
"During the trying occasions of Covid-19, we've seen many migrant personnel lost their jobs and were in superb difficulties as they were not covered by the social security nets of the countries of destination," Momen said at a good virtual pre-GFMD national consultation organized by the Parliamentary Caucus on Migration and Development with support from WARBE Advancement Foundation and PROKAS job of British Council.
"Moreover, a large number of migrant employees were living or perhaps forced to stay in crowded environment that have been risky for transmitting of the virus,"
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said unpaid wages and job losses of migrants during the pandemic suggest that migration policies must be revised for sustainable migration management.
He said irregular migration is increasing with the standard stations of migration are appearing disrupted, and opined that unscrupulous brokers and the migrants who have irregular route of migration should come under rules.
Former overseas secretary Shahidul Haque said with the global economies being disrupted by Covid-19, most of the countries are taking nationalistic policies, which may hamper the SDG targets of including vulnerable populations, including migrants and refugees.
Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Companies (BAIRA) President Benjir Ahmed MP said recruiting agencies play critical role on overseas employment sector but their contribution isn't recognised.
"A lot of the visa trading happens in destination countries, however the recruiting brokers are blamed for this unfairly. Vacation spot countries have to come up to prevent such visa trading that increases migration cost," he said.
Parliamentary Caucus in Migration and Development Couch Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary moderated the discussion also resolved by WARBE Development Basis Couch Syed Saiful Haque, RMMRU Executive Director Prof CR Abrar and PROKAS Team Leader Gerry Fox.