Expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment minister Nurul Islam on Wednesday said the Bangladesh labour market in Qatar will not be affected for deteriorating diplomatic relation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He made the remark at a consultation on challenges of women migrant workers of Bangladesh and addressing the role of the intermediaries at Probashi Lakyan Bahban.
Expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry secretary Begum Shamsun Nahar said Bangladesh labour market in Qatar will not be affected following soaring relation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. “We deal our labour market individually so it would not be affected,” Shamsun Nahar said while answering a query of a journalist during a workshop at the conference room of the expat ministry.
Recently Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic relation with Qatar, raising allegation that Qatar is funding for radicalization.
Female migrant workers and their rights campaigners on Wednesday called upon the government to immediately regulate the middlemen involved in the recruitment process to relieve the outgoing migrants from their harassment.
They demanded ensuring recruitment of migrant workers from the government database and bringing the recruiting agencies under regulation to recruit the migrants from the database. They made their remarks while speaking at a consultation on challenges of women migrant workers of Bangladesh and addressing the role of the intermediaries at Probashi Lakyan Bahban.
Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA) in collaboration with British Council’s PROKAS program organized the consultation, which was chaired by Manusher Jonno Foundation executive director Shaheen Anam.
Female migrant Shahida said that she was preparing to go abroad but she found that no work could be done without help of brokers (middlemen).
‘Although I did not have diseases, my medical checkup at GUMCA office made me unfit as I went there without taking agent,’ she told the consultation by weeping. Shahida appealed to the government to protect her and other poor migrant workers from hands of the middlemen.
Another migrant Shahnaj Begum who returned home Oman said that she went to the country by paying one lakh taka to the broker and he had worked in Oman for seven years and earned monthly Tk 25,000. She is planning to migrate to Oman again by her own initiative, she said. BOMSA director Sumaiya Islam presented a keynote paper at the consultation and said that the middlemen should be regulated by the existing laws as they were demolishing the dream of the female migrant workers.
The functional recruitment system from the government database can help reduce the involvement of middlemen, she said. Shaheen Anam said that it was urgently needed to improve training for the outgoing female migrant workers as they were coming from the vulnerable places.
‘Most of them go abroad to work without taking skills. They remain ill-prepared and fail to bargain for their salaries,’ she said.
The ladies having minimum educational backgrounds should be selected for overseas jobs, she said.
Catherine Cecill, team leader of Prokas, British Council, said the intermediaries are the part and parcel of labour migration process.
“Sometimes migrants are exploited by the intermediaries,” she said adding the intermediaries have to be regulated.
Catherine said the female migrants are exploited due to lack of available information. She also said the government, NGOs and the private sectors have to work together to ensure safe and orderly migration.
Secretary to expatriates welfare and overseas employment ministry Beguma Shamsun Nahar said that 90 per cent of the female migrants from the needy families were going to work abroad as housemaids. They were being sent abroad by providing one month residential training at home, she mentioned.
Speaking as chief guest, expatriates welfare and overseas employment minister Nurul Islam said ‘We want that no female migrant workers are victims of cheating and harassment at home and abroad.’
He said that the government has taken efforts to provide training to the female migrants in different trades out of the housekeeping sectors.
The minister said that overseas employment act 2013 has been formulated to protect the male and female workers from cheating of the middlemen.