Interministerial meeting to review the proposed draft of the overseas employment policy 2013

An inter-ministerial meeting was held by to review the proposed draft of the Overseas Employment Policy 2013. The meeting was attended by 18 ministries, divisions and departments.

An inter-ministerial meeting was held by to review the proposed draft of the Overseas Employment Policy 2013. The meeting was attended by 18 ministries, divisions and departments. It was chaired by Mr. Hazarat Ali, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE). The main purpose of the day-long meeting was obtain feedback on the proposed Overseas Employment Policy 2013. Technical assistance for the meeting was provided by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Senior officials from different ministries departments and divisions were welcomed by Mr. Hazarat Ali who informed them that the meeting is to serve the government's policy and commitment towards achieving decent employment for the Bangladeshi migrant workers.

Ms. Nisha, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO stressed that a well researched and well-formulated Overseas Employment Policy is an important component of achieving the goal of decent employment as well as for achieving enhanced socio economic development of the country. In this context, Dr. Md. Muqtada, the former Director of the ILO’s Policy and Planning Department of the Employment Sector, who drafted the policy, mentioned that the enactment of this Overseas Employment Policy 2013 will be important for formulating and implementing a specific framework for the development of overseas employment and protection of the Bangladeshi migrant workers.

The officials from various ministries took deep interest in reviewing the Policy line by line and debated the issues of linkages to equitable growth for women and men. They appreciated the connection that the Policy builds the Bangladesh’s vision to be a mid-income country by 2021 and for poverty reduction.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kazi Kalam, Deputy Secretary, MEWOE and Mr. Ashfaqul Babool, Joint Secretary, MEWOE indicated that it is a good to articulate the Policy in context of the national development frameworks make it practical.

The officials noted that the need to ensure protection of the Bangladeshi workers’ rights, particularly, decent terms and conditions of the employment in the countries of destination and equality of opportunity to all women and men in the working age group are well laid out.

The participants also expressed their satisfaction that the Overseas Employment Policy 2013 provides the implementation timelines, roles and responsibilities of various ministries, government bodies. They noted with enthusiasm the recommendation of setting up of a mechanism for monitoring and oversight of implementation of the policy by the tripartite constituents, migrant workers associations and other key stakeholders.

The recommendations for inter-ministerial policy coordination, particularly for retuning migrant workers, and private sector engagement principles and tripartism were also well received. The officials also suggested a few corrections in spelling and suggested use of alternative words. They also suggested inclusion of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Probashi Kalyan Bank, Wage Earners’ Welfare Fund, Ministry of Social Welfare into the Appendix to the Policy, which includes the roles and responsibilities of different government bodies. The official of the Ministry of Education highlighted the need to mainstream labour migration in school curricula.

There was also a debate on whether or not to include the roles and responsibilities of the association of the recruitment agents. In conclusion to this debate, officials unanimously agreed that the recruitment agents are the agents of the MEWOE who are expected to operate as per  the Recruitments Agents Rules and where their roles and responsibilities are specifically detailed out. It was also felt that the roles and responsibilities with regard to governance of labour migration and overseas employment should be restricted to the government bodies only. Otherwise, it would lead to confusion about the governance function between the state and non-state actors.

The meeting ended with a unanimous endorsement to place the proposed Overseas Employment Policy before the Cabinet for their approval and to take the necessary steps for its implementations. Mr. Hazarat Ali thanked the officials and their ministries, departments and divisions for always providing support to the MEWOE.

The Policy has been developed with technical assistance received through the ILO executed Project “Promoting Decent Work through Improved Migration Policy and its Application in Bangladesh”, which is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).