Migrant workers, when they sign up to go abroad, should be clear about what they are getting into, what is expected of them, and what they can expect in return
Migrant workers move to foreign shores in the face of great uncertainty, and send remittance back home, enriching our economy. Unfortunately, these hard-working and brave men and women who contribute so much to the growth and development of Bangladesh often get a raw deal -- both abroad, and when they return home.
Many are abused in foreign countries, with their passports taken away and no way to reach out for help. There are numerous reports of physical abuse and sexual harassment at the hands of employers. The ordeal is sometimes so terrible, that workers return home scarred for life.
These returnee migrant workers need care when they are back in Bangladesh. Reintegrating into Bangladesh as productive members of society is not always easy. Sometimes they find themselves without the necessary skills for the current times. We need a better system, then, to help these migrant workers.
As speakers at a recent webinar arranged by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) have pointed out, the government really needs to develop a reintegration program, with skill development as a core issue. The minister for expatriate welfare and overseas employment is right to point out that we need to help find ways to utilize the skills of migrant workers so they do not become redundant when they return home.
To that end, it is important to crack down on unethical agents who prey on migrant workers, and bring all migrant worker activity under official channels, so that they are not exploited or mistreated by those seeking a quick profit. Migrant workers, when they sign up to go abroad, should be clear about what they are getting into, what is expected of them, and what they can expect in return.