National Workshop on Findings of “Profiling Survey of Returning Migrant Workers of Bangladesh” Held

International Labour Organization (ILO) organized a national workshop aimed at sharing the preliminary findings of the “Returning Migrant Workers Profiling Survey.” The workshop focused on the planning social and professional reintegration of the returning migrant workers.

Aimed at providing support in planning social and professional reintegration of the migrant workers, the International Labour Organization and the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE) organized a national workshop to share the preliminary findings of the “Returning Migrant Workers Profiling Survey”. Both the survey and the workshop are part of an effort to assist the ILO constituents regarding the labour migration sector.
The Returning Migrant Workers Profiling Survey has been carried out by the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS), with technical support from the International Labour Organization (ILO), Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) and the Bangladesh Employer’s Federation (BEF). The survey and the workshop was conducted under the “Promoting Decent Work through Improved Migration Policy and its Application in Bangladesh” Project in cooperation with the MEWOE to improve the overall management of labour migration to ensure protection and decent employment conditions for the Bangladeshi migrant workers. The project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
The return and reintegration of migrant workers has been identified and promoted in the provisions of the proposed draft of the Overseas Employment Policy, which is currently under consideration. It is also an issue which emerged as requiring attention in reviews of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training and the Wage Earners’ Welfare Fund, which were completed recently. In order to plan future activities to support the workers coming back, the ILO felt that it is necessary to define further the profile of the returning migrant workers and to identify in selected sectors in Bangladesh (labour and entrepreneurship demand), perspectives and necessary measures to support professional reintegration.
The survey team conducted interviews of 1200 returning migrant workers at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka and Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong. In-depth interviews with 85 returning migrant workers were held in their homes. Preparation of this survey design and methodology involved the tripartite constituents, including the members of the National Coordination Council for Workers Education and the Bangladesh Employers Federation (NCCWE).
The workshop brought together about 65 participants from the trade unions, BEF, SDC, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies, research institutions, international organizations, bilateral cooperation agencies, NGOs, and media. The participants engaged in discussions on not only the findings and its analysis, also on how these findings can contribute to strengthening the existing mechanisms. There was open dialogue on issues of effectiveness of migration management and key issues such as recruitment cost and support services for the workers being offered through the Bangladeshi Missions aboard.
Speaking on occasion, Dr Khondaker Showkat Hossain, Secretary to the MEWOE, stressed that migration is a cycle and this cycle is not complete without addressing the issues related to return and reintegration of the labour migrants.

Mr. Nazrul Islam Khan, Secretary General & Executive Director, BILS, stated that data on the returning workers is an important foundation on which any re-integration initiative should be built. He advocated that the MEOWE and Bangladeshi officials aboard have an obligation to discharge their duties diligently in a rights-based manner.

Ms. Nazia Haider, Senior Programme Officer, SDC pointed out that the survey is the first of such efforts and an important step to identify interest and needs of the returning workers in their professional reintegration in Bangladesh.
Mr. Zafrul Hasan, Chairperson, NCCWE emphasized the need for the trade unions to mobilize the migrant workers to exercise their rights as workers.

Dr Wajed-ul Khan, NCCWE’s focal person on labour migration issues, made a point that the profile of the women migrant workers requires special attention and the issue of social impact of migration by both women and men requires supportive social security measures.

Most participants pointed out that the government and private sector should recognize the skills and experience of the returning migrant workers. The participants also felt that further research is needed for promoting reintegration through employment in formal sectors, self-employment, credits and business support, etc.
Ms Nisha, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO, informed the participants that alongside this survey, a study is under way on skills demand as well as to explore the scope of entrepreneurship in Bangladesh. The profile of the returning workers will be compared with the demand to analyze scope for professional reintegration from both demand and supply perspectives and to provide recommendations for supportive reintegration measures.
The workshop ended with a vote of thanks by Mr Hazarat Ali, Additional Secretary, MEWOE.

For Further Information Please Contact:

Nazrul Islam Khan, Secretary General, Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies:
Begum Shamsun Nahar, Director General, BMET:

Nisha, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO: