Government Policy

FM seeks joint efforts to address migration-related challenges

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Saturday called for joint efforts to address the migration-related challenges with more skilled workers and achieve the government’s goal to send 1,000 workers abroad from each upazila of the country every year on average.

“As per the directives of the Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina), our government is working towards the goal of sending 1,000 workers a year from each upazila on average. Achieving this goal is not possible for the government alone,” he said.

For this, Dr Momen said, all stakeholders, including development partners, international organizations, NGOs and the civil society have to work together apart from government’s support.

The Foreign Minister said he firmly believes that the challenges of overseas employment can be overcome through the sincere cooperation and efforts of all.

He was addressing a discussion as the chief guest organised by the Expatriates’ Welfare and Oversees Employment Ministry marking the International Migrants Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre with Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed in the chair.

Chief of the parliamentary standing committee on the Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud spoke as special guest. Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Ahmed Munirus Saleheen delivered a welcome speech.

At present, Dr Momen said, there are more than 1.20 crore Bangladeshi migrant workers working in 174 countries across the world.

The contributions and sacrifices of the expatriate brothers and sisters and their family members in the transition of Bangladesh from a least developed country to a developing country in the UN Development Index is undeniable, he said.

In the wake of the global Covid-19 epidemic, the Foreign Minister said, various problems and challenges have emerged in the management of migrants which has had some effects on sending migrant workers from Bangladesh.

“But under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the present government has been able to successfully deal with the situation created by Covid-19 by taking various effective measures,” he said.

Dr Momen said the government has taken swift measures to address the challenges faced by the expatriate workers during the pandemic. “I myself have spoken on the telephone with the foreign ministers of the various worker-receiving countries. We’ve requested them not to deprive the workers of their rights of emergency health care, employment and salary.”

Due to various timely measures, including a 2% incentive announced by the government, he said, the expatriate brothers and sisters have sent a record amount of remittances of US$ 24.78 billion in the fiscal year 2020-2021, which is 36% more than the previous year.

Dr Momen said the hard earned remittances of expatriates are the second largest source of foreign currency earning in Bangladesh. “The remittances sent by them have also made a huge contribution to the economy of Bangladesh.”

The concerted efforts to protect and expand the existing labour markets abroad, create new labour markets and, above all, address the challenges of expatriate workers must continue, said the Foreign Minister.

Dr Momen said the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment needs to continue working tirelessly to stabilize and revitalize the foreign employment sector ensuring workers’ welfare amid ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“I believe that with the joint and concerted efforts of the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it will be possible to uphold the interests of our expatriate brothers and sisters and Bangladesh,” he said.

The Foreign Minister proposed to declare December 30 as the ‘Expatriates Day’ to involve more Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) and diaspora in the country’s ongoing development.

” In December, a huge number of our expatriates visit here, we can organize different meetings and seminars marking the day to encourage our expatriates to get involved with their international standard expertise in the country’s development journey,” he said.

The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh is committed to ensuring safe and secure migration.

Noting that 65 lakh people of Bangladesh have already been displaced due to riverbank erosion, Dr Momen urged the international community to address the issue of climate refugees.

Source: United News of Bangladesh