Labour migration from Bangladesh to Mauritius increased fivefold in the past 14 years projecting more job demands in the coming days, according to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training.
In 2005, 1,381 workers from Bangladesh migrated to Mauritius and in 2018, the figure rose to 6,602 all of whom left for the island country with job visas.
In 2006, 2,090 workers migrated to Mauritius. The figure was 3,658 in 2007, and 3,071 in 2008, the data showed.
Migration decreased in 2009 as only 1,826 workers went there but it got doubled in next year with migration of 3,705 workers.
From 2011 to 2014, over 5,000 workers went to Mauritius, the BMET data showed.
The figure in 2015 was 4,753. It was 4,679 in 2016 and 5,942 in 2017.
Demand for Bangladeshi workers would increase in tourism destination Mauritius as the Bangladeshi working there earned the fame of hardworking people among their employers, said officials.
About 24,000 workers from Bangladesh were currently employed in textile industries, construction sites and bakeries in Mauritius, Bangladesh High Commissioner in Port Louis Rezina Ahmed told New Age on Friday. A small number of Bangladeshis also work in farming sector, she said.
The envoy said that there was demand of experienced garment workers in the textile factories in Mauritius which kept recruiting workers from Bangladesh through government and private recruiting agencies.
Rezina said they were trying to explore job opportunities in hospitality sector which was basically run by the Mauritius citizens themselves.
‘There is demand for Bangladeshi workers as they have already earned the fame of hardworking people,’ she said, adding that a memorandum of understanding on recruitment of workers was on the final stage to be signed soon between two countries.
Diplomats and migrant rights activists said rights of the expatriate workers were strictly protected in Mauritius. Bangladeshi workers were serving there in good working condition, earning fair wages and also enjoying all legal facilities entitled by laws in the country, they said.
Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training said Mauritius started recruiting workers from Bangladesh in 1992. So far 66,795 Bangladeshi workers went to work in Mauritius, BMET data show.
Migrant rights campaigner and Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program chairman Shakirul Islam, who recently visited Mauritius, told New Age that migrant workers got due respect in Mauritius.
He also saw Mauritius potential destination for Bangladeshi workers as migrant workers enjoy full labour rights there.
He said that basic salary of the textile worker in Mauritius was 8,150 Mauritius rupee (BDT 19,000) and the workers were entitled to get more 2600 MR (6,000 BDT) for accommodation and foods. The workers also could earn more working overtime, he said, adding that wages in the construction site was much higher than textile.
Shakirul also lamented at the activities of some recruiting agencies in Bangladesh who send workers to Mauritius on free visa charging huge cost. This potential labour market might be affected through such practices, he said.
Officials in Dhaka said that Bangladeshi male and female workers got jobs in the apparel sector in Mauritius at zero migration cost as their employers agreed to bear the cost.
Bangladeshi garment workers feel comfortable to stay and work in Mauritius as food habit of the local people was similar Bangladeshi cuisine. Rice and Bangladeshi curry make them happy there
In June, state minister for civil aviation and tourism Mahbub Ali urged Mauritius to provide on-arrival visa facilities for Bangladeshi tourists. He also proposed taking joint initiatives for further development of tourism industries in both Bangladesh and Mauritius.
The minister made call at a meeting with Mauritius tourism minister Anil Kumarsingh Gayan at Port Louis.
Anil told the minister they were sincere to provide on-arrival visa to Bangladeshi tourists and would work on that.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Foreign affairs