Bangladesh is yet to ensure a safe, orderly, and sustainable migration due to poor implementation of concerned acts and policies, said stakeholders at a workshop on Saturday.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Office organised the event titled Exit Strategy and Sustainability Workshop for "Application of Migration Policy for Decent Work for Migrant Workers Project."
The event was held in person, with an option for virtual participation, at Utsab Banquet Hall of Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden.
As the chair of the event, Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, secretary to the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry, said keeping sustainability is truly a challenge for labour migration.
"However, we are looking forward with all stakeholders to keep it up as we did a lot in coordination with the ILO and other stakeholders," he added.
Shamim Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, former secretary-general of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies, said the high migration cost is a barrier to ensuring sustainability in the labour migration process.
"We, the recruiters, have been blamed by others for the high migration cost, but if you look at the air ticket prices, it is more than double in the Middle East bound flights," he said.
Noman further said, "There are some other issues involved in the destination countries for an increase in migration costs. So, we have to deal with the root cause other than playing the blame game."
Rahnuma Salam Khan, national programme officer at ILO, said under the leadership of the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry (MOEWOE), the ILO has been implementing the migration project for the past 11 years.
Bangladesh has formulated a sufficient number of policies and acts to ensure orderly, safe, and sustainable migration in the last decade in line with the project, she added.
Professor Dr Syeda Rozana Rashid, of international relations at Dhaka University, said the ILO migration project has reached most of its desired milestones by producing some outputs and outcomes.
As the chief guest, Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad said, "We are facing new challenges like installing RT-PCR labs for Covid-19 test due to the pandemic for ensuring smooth migration of our departing workers. We are trying to respond to these challenges as well as traditional ones."
The speakers focused on five issues – ensuring the continuation of the IT-based system/information services, monitoring the implementation of acts and policies, ensuring regular negotiations with destination countries, preserving all knowledge documents and other issues of labour migration that needs to be taken forward by the government after the completion of this project.
The ILO migration project is implemented with funding support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Among others, Tuomo Poutiainen, ILO's country director in Bangladesh; Suzanne Mueller, deputy head of mission and head of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh, spoke at the event moderated by Asif Munier, a migration expert, and consultant for ILO.