It is our duty to protect our citizens
The extent to which Bangladesh’s overseas workers contribute to its economy cannot be denied -- with remittances having brought in $15.54 billion in 2018, acting as a primary driving force behind the nation’s GDP growth.
Despite that, it should come as no surprise that overseas employment has gone down by 27% in the last year.
The reasons for this are obvious: Not only have we failed to protect our migrant workers abroad -- who have faced some of the worst conditions overseas -- but the hassle and cost of seeking work outside of the country has also become unfeasible to a great degree.
Even though the government has fixed rates for migration, the actual recruit cost is 450% higher, with people having to spend somewhere between Tk300,000 and Tk750,000.
The situation is exacerbated by the fact that, when it comes to workers’ wages, it has only experienced minimal increase, while costs have gone up more than 30 times what it used to be in 1985.
What is more unfortunate is the fact that the allocated budget for the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment has dropped drastically, from Tk5,940,000,000 to a mere Tk900,000,000, significantly reducing the resources required to extend our support.
Not only have we as a nation not supported our workers in their hours of need, we have also miserably failed to fight for them in the countries where their only source of support was their motherland.
This must change, not only because we could potentially lose a significant contributor to our economy in the form of remittance, but also, at the end of the day, it is our duty to protect our citizens.