Smartcards issued to migrant workers remain unused

Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan | Published: 23:19, Aug 10,2018


Over five million smart cards that have been distributed among the outgoing migrant workers by Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training since its commencement in 2010 remain useless after departures of the workers, said officials concerned.

Migration experts and migrant rights activists requested the government to take initiates to enhance multipurpose use of the smartcards.

They also said efforts should be taken to prepare database of the returnee migrants by using their smartcards involving with immigration department.

The smartcards could be used after their arrival at the airports, they said.

BMET introduced the microchip-implanted smartcards in 2010 for overseas jobseekers to ease their immigration process.

The card contains all information furnished in the passport, jobseeker’s fingerprints and the name and licence number of the recruiting agency so that the authorities can identify all the parties involved in the migration process and take prompt actions when needed, said BMET officials

The smartcards were introduced to reduce initial hassles of the workers at the airport, officials said, adding that a migrant needs to keep the card safe with the highest priority, as besides the passport, it bears proof of an overseas worker’s valid documents.

A jobseeker obtains smartcard when he gets clearances from BMET after completion of all the formalities. He is not allowed to pass through the airport immigration without the card.

In most manpower importing countries, employers often seize workers’ passports and abusing them. Under such realities, workers become helpless and face much trouble.

WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque told New Age that it was essential to ensure that smartcards, like any other international cards, would have multipurpose uses.

As the smartcards contain data of the migrant workers, these should be long-lasting, he said, adding that migrant workers defined by international laws as lifelong migrants.

Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Programme chairman Shakirul Islam said smartcards could be used to form database of the returnee migrants.

The government should ensure multipurpose use of the smartcards, he said, adding that like national ID cards, the workers’ smartcards could be used in many ways such as alternative to the workers’ passports.

Migrant rights activist and Awaj Foundation’s director for migration Anisur Rahman Khan said that smartcards should be made effective until the workers returned home after his overseas jobs.

According to BMET records, over 5 million workers have taken smartcards before going abroad with immigration clearance since 2010. Each of the outgoing workers has to pay Tk 250 fee for the smartcards which remain unused after their departure.

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