Bangladesh sent a total of 10 lakh eight thousand 525 workers abroad in 2017 and now workers are being sent to 165 countries, minister for expatriates' welfare and overseas employment Nurul Islam told parliament on Monday.
‘There is no problem in sending workers abroad as the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry has taken multipurpose initiatives to increase number of expatriate workers and expand labour market,’ he said.
He informed the house while replying to a question of AFM Bahauddin Nasim.
The minister said the labour market in Saudi Arabia opened for Bangladesh after prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit on June 4, 2017 and women workers are going to Saudi Arabia free of cost.
Different male professionals are also going to Saudi Arabia along with female workers which is outcome of labour diplomacy, he said adding ‘A total of five lakh 52 thousand 308 workers went to Saudi Arabia in 2017.’
The minister said Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding with UAE on recruiting Bangladeshi domestic workers in the UAE on April 18 this year.
The government also signed a MoU with Technical Eastern, Japan in March 2017 to send workers and in the meantime a total of 31 workers were sent to Technical Eastern with cooperation of International Manpower Development Organisation.
Besides, a MoU for cooperation to send more workers to Japan was signed in January this year.
He further informed that a total of 99,787 workers were sent to Malaysia in 2017 under ‘G-to-G plus’ system under private sector management.
In replaying a question of independent lawmaker Rustom Ali Farazi, the expatriate welfare minister said till date a total of 23 lakh 35 thousand 873 workers were sent to UAE.
Responding another question of Begum Salma Islam, the minister said the government sends on an average six lakh workers to different countries every year and of them 90 per cent workers go to Middle East.
Besides, he said the government has sent a total of 30 lakh 94 thousand and 848 workers during January 1, 2014 to May 31, 2018 during this tenor.
He also said the government is maintaining diplomatic correspondence with different countries to expand the labour market.
He further said now more than one crore workers are in 165 countries some of them face different types of harassment.
The government takes necessary initiatives to protect the workers from different types of harassment and meanwhile 30 labour wings have been established in Bangladesh missions to provide administrative and legal cooperation for the workers.
About the female workers safety, he said help desk and safe home have been set up at the Bangladeshi embassies to ensure their safety.
Nurul Islam said the government set up four safe homes — of them one in Oman and the rest three in Saudi Arabia.
However, in response to a question of Mamataz Begum, the minister said in 2017 the government provided Tk 11 crore 41 lakh 35 thousand (Tk 35,000 per workers) for 3,263 workers who died in abroad and cooperated to bring back home their dead bodies.
He further said the government provided Tk 1.67 crore stipend to 2,343 meritorious children of expatriate workers in 2017.
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