Getting them to the Greek

Remittance sent by our workers is the second biggest source of income for our nation

Bangladesh’s economy has been built on the backs of our hardworking men and women working overseas, that is an incontrovertible truth.

Remittance sent by our migrant workers from across the world is the second biggest source of income for our nation, further testifying the importance that this sector represents to our future growth.

To that end, it is good to know that, six months since Bangladesh and Greece signed an agreement to grant temporary work visas for Greece to 4,000 Bangladeshi nationals each year, the scheme is finally set to begin later this fall -- and would go some ways in not only opening up a legal pathway for Bangladeshis to go to Greece but also mitigate the dangerous illegal methods that too many of our citizens have to take as things stands.

At present, Bangladesh’s representation in the European labour market is nowhere near that of our presence in Gulf Nations, with pockets of workers spread out across across a handful of nations, Greece being one of them. While exploring more nations to export Bangladeshi manpower should be higher up on the administration’s list of priorities in this sector, reinforcing existing European destinations is of equal importance.

However, the biggest concern, as always, should be the safety and security of our migrant workers regardless of the destination. As it stands, Gulf nations are the primary destination for Bangladeshi workers, nations which, unfortunately, do not have the best track records in ensuring basic human rights let alone worker rights.

With testimonies of abuse and even outright torture rife in the average migrant worker experience, we cannot allow a similar fate to befall our Europe-bound men and women as well. To that end, our embassies and foreign diplomats need to put their foot down in any further proceedings in this context.