Enhancing Migrant Workers & the Economic Revolution -Jeba Samiha Shuvraa
With the beginning of overseas employment in 1976, Bangladesh is currently the eighth largest recipient of remittance out of 10 countries listed by a report of EIU 2020. About 20 million people of Bangladesh are living abroad, expatriate workers are nearly 10 million, and others are living as citizens or working in different sectors in different regions of the world. Bangladesh received an amount of $20 billion last year as a remittance. This huge amount of money sent by our expatriate workers is a source of national revenue and increases the national treasury. But are these remittance senders getting any additional benefit from the government?
Airfares became more than double in price. A person has to spend tk. 80000-90000 for any Middle East flight which was previously 40000-50000 tk. sudden inflation in airfare made the migrant people a victim of an apathetic and failed administration. They are vulnerable to all dysfunctional administration policies.
Bangladesh can overcome its economic crisis by increasing remittances and becoming productive to overseas employment. This is a huge probability to enter the next level of development. But the country is far away from this possibility for some of its unexpected, unplanned contrivances. To overcome this situation a new strategy must be taken into action. First of all the inflation rate of airfare should be lowered to make the journey of expatriate workers affordable. The high price of airfare makes traveling too much costly for which a migrant worker cannot come back to his home whenever needed. This is the prime reason for reducing the interest in going abroad as a migrant worker. Most of the migrant workers belong to lower-middle-class families. They save every penny to feed their family through hard work. Every migrant worker should enjoy a cheap price of airfare which may increase the interest of overseas employment more compared with the past besides the workers never get a secure life abroad. Many workers face inhuman treatment in their working place. Especially the women are holding the most unsecured position in a matter of both physical and mental health. It is found that almost 40% of women working abroad are victims of physical abuse. They cannot protest, they cannot ignore and some of them end their life by committing suicide or by murder. The government did not take any prompt step to ease their suffering by providing any legal help. The only way to seek help in these cases is to go to the embassy which involves another suffering for them for its wide range of formalities. It is high time the Bangladesh government should increase its promptness for the sake of expatriate workers.
Every migrant worker must get medical aid for any health nonconformity. There should be a medical check-up of workers and migrant people every month free at cost. All legal help should be provided by the government. Monthly counseling should be given to them irrespective of an age difference. Inclusion skill-enhancing ring training, recreation program, maternity help, maternity aid, religious program, educational aid, etc. can help in developing the status of every migrant people.
Another revolutionary step can be taken by our government by creating a working field for autistic people abroad. They need special care and special treatment. A work-friendly environment can help the families of autistic and disabled people. To convert them into human resources these steps have no other alternative. Remittance in Bangladesh decreased up to 1810.10 USD million in August from 1871.10 USD million in July 2021 (Bangladesh Bank). The reason behind this is the migrant people did not get enough support from the Bangladesh government. Again, a large number of people in our country go abroad by taking the help of some dishonest, illegal media. They are bound to sell their lands, sell their resources to meet the cost of visas and other things. The brokers take them to different countries through illegal and risky routes. Sometimes they cross the borders by a waterway which proved to be the riskiest route. It takes a long time to reach the Gulf countries or to cross the Mediterranean border. Sometimes people die in the way of journey and their body is thrown in the sea. The travelers also have to face beastly tortures.
If government make overseas employment easier for all kinds of people and gives opportunity to all interested people, that time is not far ahead when Bangladesh will be on her pick of economic revolution and enhancement.
The writer is a student of Department of Public Administration, University of Chittagong.