Bangladesh, ILO and Switzerland launch new initiative to support decent work for migrant workers

Press release | Dhaka, Bangladesh | 03 May 2016
Srinivas Reddy, ILO Country Director for Bangladesh, Shamima Nargis, Additional Secretary, ERD, Ministry of Finance and Beate Elsässer, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh sign the project agreement
An initiative launched in Dhaka today will contribute to the application of the overseas employment policy and support strengthening of public and private institutions to secure decent work for Bangladeshi migrant workers.

The Application of Migration Policy for Decent Work for Migrant Workers project, executed by the International labour Organization (ILO) and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will run until March 2018. A further three-year phase is then likely with the total budget standing at US$7.25 million until 2021.

The initiative will be implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment as well as workers’ and employers’ organizations. It carries on from the recently completed Promoting Decent Work through Improved Migration Policy and its Application in Bangladesh project which came to an end in December 2015 and was also financially supported by the SDC.  The new project will help the Government of Bangladesh to operationalize the policy and legal measures developed with the assistance of the earlier initiative, including, the Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Policy 2016 and the Overseas Employment and Migrants Act 2013.

It will help strengthen the institutions responsible for managing migration to deliver quality labour market information, occupational classification, pre-departure training accreditation, and welfare services abroad. It will also provide research and technical advisory support for strengthening labour negotiations for decent work as well as facilitate the engagement of stakeholders including workers and employers organizations in all processes.

Begum Shamsun Nahar, Secretary to the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment said, “The Government of Bangladesh is committed ensuring safety and dignity of men and women migrants in destination countries as well as to support them upon their return. Through this initiative, government services will be further strengthened which will protect both current and future migrants alike.”

Srinivas Reddy, ILO Country Director for Bangladesh said, “This new project builds on the success of our past efforts. By working at levels ranging from policy to the grassroots it will help ensure that systems of migration management are responsive and promote decent work.”

Beate Elsässer, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh, said, “Labour migration and associated remittances are a vital component of the Bangladeshi economy as well as a lifeline for many workers and their families. This initiative represents a continuation of Swiss support for the Government of Bangladesh as it streamlines policies and builds institutions for safe labour migration and decent work.”

The project will work with the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, its subsidiary organizations, and other stakeholders. These include the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, Labour Wings attached to Bangladesh overseas missions, the Wage Earner’s Welfare Board, Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited, Probashi Kallyan Bank, Non-government Organizations, research and statistics institutes, as well as workers’ and employers’ organizations.

In 2015, a total of 555,881  Bangladeshi workers migrated of whom 103,718 (18.65%) were women. Remittances received through legal channels totalled US$15,270.99 million in the financial year 2014-2015 , accounting for close to eight per cent equivalent of the country’s GDP.

For more information contact please contact: Steve Needham, email:  mob: +88 01787 680995 Abdullah Al Muyid, email:  mob: +88 01713 068384