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News & Events
Exploring New Markets for Manpower Export
Ngày đăng: 04/05/2011 - Lượt xem: 983

AMID growing concern, the country's manpower experts were reduced by 21 per cent in 2010. The inflow of remittance also registered a growth of only 1.46 per cent, the lowest in the last 30 years. This is the finding of research report of the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) of the Dhaka University released last week.

Admitting the fact, the labor and employment minister, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, said the export of local workers had decreased as the demand for workers had shrunk in the international market. He said that 0.38 million workers of Bangladesh went aboard in 2010, nearly 0.1 million less than 0.47 million in 2009. He expressed his hope that manpower export would increase this year as Malaysia, Kuwait and some other prospective countries were expected to take workers from Bangladesh.

Yet the fact remains that the government had failed to find any new markets for the migrant workers due to the lack of coordination between the labor and employment ministry and foreign affairs ministry. Bangladesh needs more efficient economic diplomacy and pragmatic moves for expanding labor markets aboard, experts opined. According to the report, which quoted the statistics of the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, 64 per cent of the workers who went abroad were unskilled, 17.48 per cent skilled, 4.25 per cent semi-skilled and 0.08 per cent professional. About 41,220 migrant workers returned to Bangladesh in 2010.

Of the workers, 52.27 per cent went to United Arab Emirates, 11 per cent to Oman, nine per cent to Singapore and two per cent to Saudi Arabia in 2010. About 60 to 70 per cent of the export of manpower went to Saudi Arabia till 2004. The report said that the growth rate of remittance, which was around 10 per cent in the last 30 years, was only 1.46 per cent in 2010. Migrant workers of Saudi Arabia sent the highest amount of remittance, followed by those of in the UAE, United States and Kuwait.

After witnessing a rapid decline in manpower export, the government asked the Directorate General Forces Intelligence (DGFI) to identify the reasons for it. The agency conducted a survey and identified 15 causes for the recent nosedive in overseas employment, according to a newspaper report. It said illicit activities as well as cut-throat competition among recruiting agencies have been identified as the main reasons for the drastic fall in the number overseas jobs for Bangladeshi workers. The report also cites negative propaganda by opposition parties as one of the reasons that has tarnished the image of the country in the Middle-East.

The report pointed to problems created by Rohingyas, lack of skilled and professional personnel, irresponsible attitude of bureaucrats, flaws in foreign policies and a section of unscrupulous government officials as reasons behind such a nosedive in manpower exports. It also revealed that the embassies in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and several Middle East countries have failed to perform their duties properly. It has been alleged that the embassies have even failed to counter the negative propaganda about the country. Many of the Bangladeshi embassies are reluctant to implement the government policies, the report said.

The report also sheds light on the money-making tendencies of the recruiting agencies in Bangladesh. These agencies are mostly interested in earning money by making false promises to workers. Many interested in working abroad fall prey to their fraudulent activities. The report also points out that the brokers working for licensed recruiting agencies are to be blamed equally. A section of the expatriates are also involved in this racket.

In fact, Malaysia and Singapore have stopped giving visa to migrant workers. Only recently, Malaysia is taking some migrant workers from South Asian region. On the other hand, fall in price of oil has seen Middle Eastern counties struggling to survive. For unknown reason, South Arabia is reluctant to take workers from Bangladesh. In Abu Dhabi, development companies are not doing construction work in full-swing due to the global recession. As such, manpower-export market is in deep trouble. Some workers from Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia were forced to return and sacked from their jobs in the respective countries.

Government inaction and bureaucratic barriers are two of the major reasons for poor exploitation of the country's potentials for exporting skilled manpower, concluded some manpower experts in a discussion meeting held recently in the capital. Thousands of jobs for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers in agriculture and other sectors are available in a number of western countries, including Italy, Russia and Canada. But, regrettably, due to a lack of attention of our government, those opportunities remain untapped. The government has a big role to play in manpower export issue. Foreign missions in the recipient countries have to reactive. At the same time some other missions have to act very efficiently. But the government bureaucrats who dealt with manpower export were so inefficient that, instead of facilitating, they hinder Bangladeshis going abroad to work.

Violation of human rights often takes place because of lack of awareness of the workers about the contract. Some unprofessional people enter this business though they are not fully aware about how the business operates. They are mostly responsible for the violation of human rights. The recent trend is that some expatriates just send visa to their near and dear ones and thus they make profit despite the fact that the employees do not know about the contract, work environment, facilities so on and so forth. In this way the workers are badly treated by the employers. If every worker is aware of the contract, violation of human rights of migrant workers can be stopped.

Experts suggested that if skill development programs were implemented nationally, more and more skilled workers would have get jobs abroad and thus increase the remittance inflow by many folds. Although the remittances earned by our expatriate workers had been making a significant contribution to the county's foreign exchange earnings, the government had invested nothing for developing their skills and facilities for the sector. The government should make frequent and pro-active negotiations with its counterparts in countries that suffered from labor shortage. Remittances were most easy source of foreign exchange earnings, as it required no spending or production by the country. The government and the sector should make efforts to minimise the cost of migration for foreign job-seekers, as the Philippines and Sri Lanka did.

There should be an integrated role of the Foreign Ministry, Expatriate Ministry and Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA). There are some counties where new manpower market can be discovered. Eastern Europe, Russia and some countries of Africa can be good options. Foreign Ministry has to establish contact with the companies of those countries. Every mission must have a very strong press-wing from which concerned ministry will get an idea about jobs openings in the respective country. There should also be a labour-wing which will monitor the welfare of the workers. And all the missions should send reports to the concerned ministry on a regular basis.

Shahiduzzaman Khan

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