The Overseas Employment and Migrants Act 2013, Bangladesh
The Overseas Employment and Migrants Act was passed in 2013 in an effort to bring Bangladesh's legal framework in line with the major labour and human rights treaties that it has ratified. The Act was designed with the technical assistance of the ILO's SDC-funded project on 'Promoting Decent Work through Improved Migration Policy and its Application in Bangladesh'. The law-making process involved dialogue in the form of focus group discussions with 185 Bangladeshi migrant workers across 14 districts; two national-level multi-stakeholder consultations with over 150 participants, including the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) and workers' and employers' organisations; an interministerial consultation involving around 20 ministries and government divisions; and five exchanges within the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE) on stakeholders' proposals. As part of the Act: (1) all workers migrating from Bangladesh, including domestic workers, are recognised as workers and are guaranteed basic labour rights; (2) they have the right to legal remedy; (3) they can access labour courts, mobile courts, and other courts; and (4) the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) and labour attachés in destination countries are recognised as key rights custodians. With this Act becoming effective, a broad legal framework with punitive measures for specific recruitment violations has been put into place. This is the first-ever law on labour migration passed by the Parliament of Bangladesh and one that derives principles from the International Labour Standards and the UN Conventions and Recommendations.