Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) Director General Salim Reza Saturday said Bangladesh will send one million migrant workers in 2017.
Salim speaking at a national consultation programme arranged by Brac ahead of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in December said: “The Malaysian and KSA manpower market is opening up again to Bangladeshi migrant workers and we had a very fruitful meeting with UAE last month and that market will open to Bangladeshi manpower very soon.”
He said they hoping to send the one million migrant workers abroad next year.
As of November this year, a total of 21,657,632 Bangladeshi migrant workers went abroad for work.
While presenting the key note presentation, Head of Brac's Migration Programme Hassan Imam said the percentage of unskilled labour export is still very high:
“50% of the overseas employment from 1976-2015 were unskilled. Even last year 43% of the overseas employment were of unskilled labour.”
The BMET DG said they understand the importance of skills development and this is why it was placed in the last national budget this year:
“In this regard, we have started a short course at BMET to help develop the skills of migrant workers in 48 different trades and we also have 70 training centres for skills development. We are also constructing 40 training centres with 50 more training centres in the pipeline.”
“We have taken these kinds of initiatives to train our migrant workers so that the chances of them being exploited when they reach their destination countries will be zero,” he also said.
During the consultation with civil society members and migrants workers, some of them raised concerns over the high migration cost from Bangladesh and the existence of middlemen during the process.
Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA)'s Secretary General Ruhul Amin answered: “As most migrant workers feel more comfortable going to a middleman than going a recruiting agency we should work with the middlemen and make them aware of safe migration processes.”
Ruhul also said some countries have agreed to take Bangladeshi migrant workers at zero migration cost like Qatar through the Qatar Foundation is working to take Bangladeshi male migrant workers without any migration cost.