Reports of national dailies are regularly manifesting our endless plight in the international labour market. These unveil how we are losing grip in the Middle East that once lured us as a key source of foreign remittances: lifeline of our national economy next to the apparel sector.
According to a recent Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training(BMET) statistics revealed in a Bangla daily, workers sent to Saudi Arabia in 2018 were 2,06,768 which not only failed to come up with government s target but also fell at least two times shorter than that of 2017. In 2017 the number of man-power exported in total exceeded 5 lakhs and a half. Experts say a growing tendency among local owners of recruiting local workers in various sectors is leading to the expulsion of foreign workers from the Middle East. Moreover war-torn countries including Libya are no less responsible for the ongoing shrinkage of labour market forcing ultimate return of workers to homeland.
This bad time for man-power business is not merely confined in the Middle East; its ominous shade looms large on other parts of the world too. Reasons behind such fall of overseas job scopes are manifold. Theway the world is undergoing geopolitical, socio-economic, cultural and climatic changes and transformations chances are little for this crisis to find an immediate solution. Under present global reality a trend of containing flight of domestic money to other countries is keenly observed. Specially, on the backdrop of 9/11 an omnivorous panic of extremism seized the world. As a part of security measures western countries began reshuffling their international relations tightening border and checking inflow of refugees. Underdeveloped Islamic nations became the worst sufferer of it.
The more the wealthy and rich countries resort to the policy of constraint, the more the incidents of illegal immigration will happen. Indeed external glosses of western countries are irresistibly drawing unemployed youths from developing states risking their own lives. In pursuit of a better future they are trying all possible illegal perilous means. We often come through media how their dreams while crossing violent sea embrace watery graves capsizing boats. Bangladesh is no exception to this. The news of a mass grave of Bangladeshi expatriate workers discovered in deep forest of Thailand and many falling to death in desert being hunger stricken are not distant memories.
Limited resources, increasing unemployment, over-population and natural disasters- all compel our educated young generation to opt for overseas jobs. These helpless and innocent people are getting mindless target of human traffickers and unscrupulous man power export agencies mushrooming in the country.
A last year report that a significant number of illegal immigrants headed towards Europe were from Bangladesh and subsequent pressure from Turkey and the EU countries on Dhaka to take back illegal Bangladeshis is enough to be disenchanted with Europe.
Reports of many of our people languishing in jails in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia and facing adversities such as: unfriendly behaviour, torture, cheating and even death bring forward the questions about the role of concerned authorities, high commissions and embassies to foreign countries. Many female workers are reportedly becoming victims of physical and sexual abuse in the Middle Eastern countries. The inhuman and unsafe working conditions our workers are being forced to face reflects indifference, mismanagement and inefficiency of our concerned regulatory bodies.
The prospect of our labour market in the Middle East that ushered in a new era during the last BNP regime - regrettably fell flat due to successive governments unidirectional foreign policy and - their failure to create alternative market for Bangladeshi work force. In order to tackle this gruesome situation incumbent government needs to take initiatives to find new place to explore labour market. Our workers are often heard to be earning lesser wages compared to that of other countries due to lack of necessary skills and linguistic command.
Needs of hour is to pay due attention to the reasons behind our decline in man power prospect. There is no alternative to rein in all pervasive corruption and irregularities that enormously marred our domestic regulatory system and tarnished image in outer world.