Category Archives: Bangladesh

The embargo of Qatar is hurting foreign workers more than Qatari citizens

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When Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates led the imposition of a political and economic blockade on Qatar last month, there were immediate, far-reaching consequences: Flights were canceled and rerouted, Qatari citizens were expelled from other Arab states of the Persian Gulf, shipping routes were closed and airspace was suddenly off-limits to Qatar’s pilots. But the blockade may have the biggest effect on Qatar’s largest — and most overlooked — population: foreign migrant workers, who make up about 90 percent of the country’s population.
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Ensure safe, orderly and regular migration

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Migrants workers are not slaves. They are human beings too, and have rights to survive with dignity like others in the world”, Dulal of Bangladesh said to me, while returning from Qatar recently. In Doha, Qatar to report on the plights of migrant workers, I met and talked to some of the ill-fated migrant workers of Bangladesh, they were returning Bangladesh empty handed. Dulal of Chittagong was one of them. His father paid Taka six hundred thousand to a middleman to send him to Qatar for what was purported to be a well-paid job. The broker arranged for a one-month’s VISA (In the name of free VISA) for Dulal from Dhaka, and urged him to go to Qatar, promising that the work visa would be extended for three years once he was there. At the end of the month however there was not only no extension, but the broken disappeared. Dulal never saw the broker again in Qatar and even the broker refused to answer his desperate calls. Continue reading

GFMD and global partnership for women’s safe migration

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GFMD and global partnership for women’s safe migrationThe foreign ministry of Bangladesh recently briefed the heads of diplomatic missions in Dhaka on the upcoming 3-day ninth summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) to be held on December 10-12, 2016. The theme of this year’s summit is: “Migration that works for Sustainable Development for all: Towards a Transformative Migration Agenda.”

Bangladesh government expects that talks at the summit will allow Bangladesh to deal with migration issues bilaterally with other countries, in a more systematic manner. It is also most likely to open new opportunities of migrants from Bangladesh; the country’s economy relies heavily on the remittances that migrant workers send home. Bangladesh ranks seventh in the list of the world’s top remittance-receiving nations. According to the Bangladesh government, remittances amounted to as an incredible $15.31 billion in fiscal 2015 — the highest in the country’s history, accounted for around ten per cent of the country’s GDP. Continue reading

Safe immigration is a must

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In May 2016, while flying to Malaysia, I met Sohel. A 20-year-old boy from Barishal, the southern coastal district of Bangladesh, He was on the flight because he had been promised a well-paying job once he reached Malayasia by a labour broker in his village. For this verbal agreement, the broker took four hundred thousand Bangladeshi taka, a big amount given his family’s straitened circumstances. Sohel’s father had to sell a portion of their ancestral land to pay the broker. Sohel, however, had been given no job contract or legal document confirming his payment and employment. He didn’t even know what work he would do once he reached. As someone who could not read and could barely sign his name, Sohel’s vulnerability as a migrant worker was acute.

When I pressed for more information, I was shocked to learn that this was Sohel’s second foray at securing a job in Malayasia. He had made the same trip two months back, based on a similar promise made by the same broker.  Continue reading

Bangladesh workers abroad face hard time

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Mizanur Rahman, a mason at a construction firm in Saudi Arabia, is worried about losing his job. His employer has recently expressed inability to continue some of the ongoing projects due to financial crisis.

The lone breadwinner of a five-member family from Faridpur cannot even begin to imagine what would happen to his family if he loses the job.

“We are not getting our wages for the last six months. We are still working for the company, hoping the situation would change soon,” said Mizanur, who has been working for Saudi Oger, one of the largest construction firms in Saudi Arabia, for around four years.

“But there is no sign of improvement… Rather, our employer has told us that he may suspend some of the projects for fund crisis,” the 40-year-old migrant worker told The Daily Star over the phone from the kingdom yesterday. Continue reading

Agents promise false to Bangladeshi migrant workers

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Bangladeshis who came to Malaysia before August 2015 as a tourist or labourer can apply for legal worker status. But agents are making money by promising all migrant workers that they can help them obtain legal status. Even the main company involved with the legalization process of migrant workers, MYEG, is taking advantage of workers.

(As broadcast on Ekattor TV, Bangladesh.)

Undocumented Bangladeshi migrant workers face tough time in Malaysia

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To avoid arrests, illegal/ undocumented workers in Malaysia are now living in forests and abandoned warehouses. Since they don’t have a visa or employment papers, they are in conflict with the police. On one hand, helpless Bangladeshi migrant workers are not getting jobs; on the other hand they cannot pay back the money they have invested to come here.

(As broadcast on Ekattor TV, Bangladesh.)

Migration, media and remittance

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It is estimated that one out of every seven people on earth, more than one billion individuals are directly impacted by remittances

Migration, media and remittance are interlinked. If safe migration is ensured, and if we get the total remittances through formal way/ proper channel, the whole scenario of migration will be positively changed, and our national economy will be more strengthen. Definitely we will be gainer in many ways. To address these issues, we must involve print, electronic and social media as key stakeholders among others. National and international campaign to make awareness on safe migration, to prevent human trafficking and people-smuggling trade, life-threatening journey by boat to unknown destinations, those challenging issues require accommodation in national and international media broadly. Bangladeshi workers are very hard-working, and they have been working in different sectors of 161 countries across the globe. But many workers are facing difficulties too due to undocumented, cheated by the brokers, people-smuggling syndicate, trafficked, tortured in detention and jail, getting irregular and low-payment from the employer and few others to mention. So the government and other stakeholders should work from now collectively to ensure all the Bangladeshi workers are under the shadow of the protective umbrella of safe migration. Continue reading

Illegal workers face torture

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These migrant workers came to Malaysia via illegal sea routes and are passing their days in fear. They told Ekattor TV how their fellow travelers were submitted to brutal physical torture and some died of lack of food. Despite being able to earn a few Ringgit every month, they are destined to be unhappy.

(As broadcast on Ekattor TV, Bangladesh.)