Co-operation between the IOM and ILO in Bangladesh in the area of migration has been formalized building on fruitful co-operation between the two organizations in previous years.
The IOM and ILO signed a letter of agreement to strengthen the implementation of the Project “Promoting Decent Work through Improved Migration Policy and its Application in Bangladesh” and specifically to support Improved Migration Management and Services. The project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), who have been a keen actor in promoting the right to decent work and are committed to ensuring that labour migration, can take place within a sound legal and social framework.
The component to be implemented by IOM will respond to the requests of the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE) to support enhancement of its capacity for migration management. The MEWOE is keen to support the migrant Bangladeshi workers contribute to the sustainable economic development of Bangladesh through identification of decent employment opportunities overseas and by promoting safe migration for the male and female migrant workers. Through this component, IOM will contribute to:
(a) Strengthen policy and institutional frameworks to maximize the development impact of migration and the improve protection of male and female migrant workers; and
(b) Improve operational efficiency and effectiveness in overseas employment promotion and social protection for male and female workers, with special attention to regulation and supervision of recruitment agencies and the reduction of migration costs for aspiring migrant workers.
This component is expected to lead to:
(a) the establishment of a planning, coordination and training unit at the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) for institutional coordination, labour market analysis and staff training;
(b) Overseas employment in countries under protected conditions; and
(c) Making the potential migrants, and their families and communities aware of the migration process, migrant workers’ rights and mechanism for protection.
With the changes in the local demography, livelihoods patterns, education and as a result of the growing economic needs, the number of migrant workers is growing. Often the migration is not through the appropriate channels. Therefore, there is a great need to create awareness about the need for legal migration and for setting up systems that would enable the MEWOE and BMET to monitor the migrants.
ILO and its partners are working closely with the Government of Bangladesh to deliver an intensive information campaign to raise awareness among potential migrants of the risks and dangers of illegal migration, and to provide migrants with necessary information before they travel. Speaking on the occasion, the ILO’s Country Director, André Bogui, said that with over six and half million migrant workers overseas, the need to promote safe migration can’t be overstated. A large number of these workers face exploitation not only during recruitment process but also at the hands of their foreign employers. Often this is due to a lack of knowledge about the migration process, labour laws and their rights as migrant workers.
The above point was reiterated by the Additional Secretary of the MEWOE, Hazarat Ali, who mentioned that Government of Bangladesh, through this project, would strengthen its capacity to respond to the needs of both the potential migrant and returning workers. He laid special emphasis on the Government of Bangladesh’s commitment to make the migration process and the overseas employment conditions safe for women.
Looking forward, the project will contribute to the UN System’s development priorities in Bangladesh too. Picking up this point, the IOM’s Chief of the Mission, Sarat Dash, said that IOM is pleased to be a part of this project, designed on the priority needs of Government of Bangladesh and implemented in partnership with ILO and UN Women. This collaboration truly reflects the initiative towards achieving the United Nation’s Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) priorities in Bangladesh.