Seeking a win-win situation on migration

ILO’s Application of Migration Policy for Decent Work for Migrant Workers project, funded by the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development is working with the Government of Bangladesh to operationalize policy and legal measures to support migrant workers. Chief Technical Advisor Deepa Bharati talks about what the initiative is trying to achieve.

Feature | Dhaka | 11 September 2017
Data shows that the numbers of women migrants are increasing

Seeking a win-win situation

We need to work to make migration a win-win situation, for the individual, for the families, and Bangladesh. Many countries look at migration as a means of finding employment for youth as well as supporting poverty alleviation. Remittances contribute so much but promoting more people to migrate without ensuring rights is not sustainable.

Building on past work

The project builds on work carried out by earlier ILO initiatives and provides technical support to help strengthen institutions responsible for migration governance. We mainly support rights based, orderly migration governance initiatives of the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment as well as others involved in the process.

Involving the trade unions

We work with national trade unions and through the project have formed a labour migration committee. The committee represents workers via the National Coordination Committee for Workers Education (NCCWE) which is a national grouping of trade union federations. This committee is consulted about the policy and legislative framework and helps form a bridge between the government, workers and social partners.

Cost a major challenge

A major challenge is the high cost of migration and recruitment. Migration governance requires collaboration across borders, between the governments of source and destination countries. According to ILO research Bangladesh has a very high cost of migration/recruitment and these costs result in very low skilled workers going into very high debt which can take years to pay off. This needs to be addressed and this project in collaboration with World Bank is working to develop a methodology to assess these costs.

Better skills mean higher salaries

More and better skills, which are recognized in destination countries would make a big difference. Many workers lack skills and so their salaries are low. This is increasingly a priority and we are working with partners in the area of skills with a particular focus on women. The majority of women from Bangladesh migrate into domestic work or the garment sector. Data shows that the numbers of women migrants are increasing and therefore we are looking to see if there are any other jobs women can take up and what type of skills they would need.