Inefficiency in Work Puts Bangladeshi Migrant Workers in adverse condition

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The life outside the country is unfamiliar, the language there is unknown and the people are strangers. Most of the migrant workers cannot even talk to their employers. Lack of efficiency of the workers and the limitation of inability to make others understand their problems have made the worker-employer relationship very bitter. This bitter relationship makes numerous workers’ lives abroad intolerable.      

Despite all these reasons thousands of inefficient workers leave Bangladesh for their dream job abroad. According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), 49.65% workers of the total migrant workers who went abroad are inefficient. Besides 15 percent workers are semi-skilled. Skilled Bangladeshi workers constitute 31% of the workers and only 2.5% of the migrant workers are professionals.   

In the recent years, Bangladeshi female workers have been going abroad too although the numbers are very low. For the first time in 1991, 2189 working female workers went abroad to work. After that, for 9 years overseas migration of female workers had been kept stopped. In 2010, overseas migration of female workers started again. In the year 27,607 female workers went abroad for work. In 2016 highest number of female workers went abroad. In that year, about 118,000 female workers went abroad. But the female workers also have been suffering acutely because of their inability to communicate with others, unknown environment and lack of skill. 

The number of people seeking work is increasing by 2.1 million every year. But only 0.60 to 1 million people have been getting jobs. Therefore, the number of unemployed people is increasing by 1.1-1.5 million. Because of this high unemployment rate thousands of people rush abroad. A few of them go abroad for a rosy future. On the other hand, a few go there bearing the disappointment of failure to get desired jobs in the homeland.    

The unemployed people are leaving their homeland to do that job in which they do not have any skill; even they do not know the language of the country. At Hazrat Shahjalal International Airporta female worker who was leaving Bangladesh for work said, ‘Because of poverty in Bangladesh we have to go abroad. For women the environment is not good and the opportunity is also less.’ She is leaving her country dreaming to earn more money.    

Another female worker said, ‘Nobody goes abroad being happy here. When we have nothing to do and cannot bear our family expenses, women like us become forced to go abroad.’ 

‘Life in our country is very hard. We do not find work. That’s why we are going to other countries. At least going there we will get a job and earn money. In my country I cannot do that now,’ another female worker said to this reporter.  

What will you do after going there? In reply, an outbound worker said, ‘Yet the work has not been fixed. Whatever is in my fate, I will do that.’ When this reporter asked, ‘What type of work can you do?’ The worker said, ‘I didn’t do anything like that before. I will do whatever I find there.’

The condition of most of the migrant workers from Bangladesh is same. Not only they are illiterate but also they do not have any experience. In the queue of the people to be migrant workers most of them are illiterate and inexperienced.

The experts have been asking for a few years to take steps to increase efficiency of workers interested to go abroad. According to them, if we can send professionals and skilled workers abroad, we will be able to increase out income from remittance. Besides, this will decrease the level of sufferings of the migrant workers abroad.  

Eminent economist Md. Mustafizur Rahman said, ‘The majority of Bangladeshi workers working abroad are inefficient or semi-efficient. As a result they have to suffer immensely there. Also just because of their inefficiency our migrant workers’ earning is very low.’

He also added, ‘On average a worker sends USD 1700-1800 in a month whereas an Indian migrant worker sends about USD 4000 in a month. A china migrant worker sends about USD 6,500 in a month. Even a Philippine can send a healthy amount to his country. The biggest reason is their education and skills.’

The government is also putting much emphasis to increase the skills of the workers who wish to go abroad for work. In this regard, the Director General of Bangladesh Manpower Export and Training Bureau (BMET) Md. Selim Reza said,‘We are inspiring people who are interested to go abroad to become skilled. We are providing training and pre and post departure orientation to those who are going abroad officially. I hope that in the near future the rate of skilled workers going abroad will increase.’ 

Mr. Selim Reza added, ‘We know that CTNDIS is an England based international certification authority. Six of our training centers have attained qualification certificate from the authority. We have started giving trainings at these six training centers. Those who will train at these centers are recognized in 80 countries including Europe and America. As a result, those who will get training will get international certificate and authorization.’  

If we can reduce the lack of skill and experience of the migrant workers, the image of Bangladesh in the international labour market will brighter. Bangladeshi migrant workers will be able to send more remittance. Economists and experts think that as a result the efforts to achieve the economic growth of the country will be a bit more vigorous.  

Golam Mourtoza(pen name G M Mourtoza) is a Bangladeshi media activist based in Rajshahi where he has worked for several print, electronic and online media outlet. Email him at [email protected]

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