A male worker needs to spend three years’ remittance to meet his migration cost while a female worker requires to spend one year’s earnings for the same purpose, according to the Migration Trend Report for 2018, prepared by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit of Dhaka University.
The report expresses surprise over why the female workers should incur the expenditure when the government says they ‘are sent free of cost.’
Unveiling the report at National Press Club, RMMRU founding chair Tasneem Siddiqui said that migrant workers meet 30 per cent of their migration cost by selling properties and the rest by borrowing from their relatives.
Replying a question, she said that the government set migration costs for some countries on realistic lines was never implemented for which the government decisions fixing the costs of migration for the workers could be challenged under international law.
The report says that the employment opportunities for Bangladeshis in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, both major destinations for them, declined by 27 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017.
The overall migration by female workers of Bangladesh declined by 20 per cent in 2018, it said.
The RMMRU report said that the remittance inflow increased by 15 per cent in 2018 compared to the previous year, but the inflow would see negative growth from 2019 due to shrinking job opportunities abroad.
According to the RMMRU report, 800 female workers of Bangladesh were deported by the KSA after they became victims of abuse.
The report says that it was for the first time that such a large number of workers of Bangladesh were deported by a single country.
Tasneem Siqqiqui called upon the government to appoint lawyers and interpreters in destination countries to provide legal protection to ‘our female workers.’
She demanded that the Wage Earners Welfare Board should stop spending its fund for any purpose other than on extending direct benefits to the migrants.
The RMMRU report recommended making the migrants and their family members as partners in the activities for achieving Sustainable Development Goals instead of using them as tools for achieving the SDG.
It demanded full performance evaluation of Prokashi Kalyan Bank as 95 per cent of its paid up capital was taken from the WEWB created with money deducted from the migrants.
RMMRU chair and senior Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik who chaired the report launching said that sending female workers to Saudi Arabia became risky as this country treated women as products and not human beings.
Female workers could be sent only to those countries where they could access legal protection, he said.
He said that like most of state run banks, the PKB too was plundered as they were politically used.
Replying to a question, he said that the government should discourage workers for migrating to crime prone South Africa.
RMMRU coordinator CR Abrar and its programme director Marina Sultana attended the report launching.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country