The opening of the daylong event was marked by the presence of Dr. Zafar Ahmed Khan, Secretary to the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment; Mr. Gagan Rajbhandari, Deputy Director, ILO; Dr. Derek Mueller, Counsellor, Head of Cooperation, SDC; Professor Abul Barkat, Team Leader of the five researches from the HDRC and the research team members; Ms. Nisha, Chief Technical Advisor, Labour Migration, ILO; representatives from other development partners and international agencies; ten expert discussants; and officials of the Ministry.
Dr. Zafar Ahmed Khan and Dr Derek Mueller recognized the growing interest in academic research about the importance of labour migration. Both stressed that knowledge of how labour migration ties with many other aspects of development and policy. Mr. Gagan Rajbhandari further pointed out the labour market, labour rights, gender equality and several social dimensions of labour migration.
The panel discussions raised the point that a number demographic and socioeconomic factors that affect labour migration. There is a need to understand how compositional changes in age, homeownership, and other observable characteristics affect labour migration.
The expert discussants, Mr. Kazi Abul Kalam, Deputy Secretary to the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment and Mr. Zahid Hussain, Lead Economist of the World Bank stressed that it is important to understand the socio-economic factors if we want to mainstream migration in national developing planning.
Ms Nisha, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO pointed out that while changes in demographics are said to have a huge impact on migration, not every aspect of labour migration can be explained by the demographics.
Professor Md. Abul Kashem, Chairperson of BTEB and professor Abul Barkat, who is leading the five researches also emphasized the need to research the probability of migration for work among all demographic and socioeconomic groups to know the real answers about why people migrate for work and what benefits it brings in a given context.
Mr. Jabed Ahmed, Additional Director General, Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training Pointed out that the ongoing researches by the ILO and HDRC investigate many of the issues raised by the discussants and participants and give recommendation for addressing those issues.
Dr. Anwara Begum, Senior Research Fellow of BIDS, pointed out the need to take these studies a step further to bring better understanding of the role that gender plays in labour migration.
Dr. Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal, Joint Secretary to the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment stressed on the need for well regulated labour migration to address the issues of costs related to recruitment and migration as well as to avoid unscrupulous practices.
The Worker’s representative, Dr Wajedul Islam Khan echoed the ILO’s point that there is a need to research and better understand the role that labour market plays in the migration growth or decline. The day-long event was closed by a vote of thanks by Mr. Hazarat Ali, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment.