DHAKA (ILO News) – The Government of Bangladesh, through the Economic Relations Division (ERD) in the Ministry of Finance today signed an agreement with ILO for a project that will enhance policies, capacities, and systems for inclusive and sustainable reintegration of migrant workers. The project is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
This project was signed poignantly on International Migrants Day that is celebrated annually on 18 December. The project is envisioned to ensure that migrant workers returning from abroad can smoothly transition into the Bangladesh job market and use the skills and experiences they acquired out of the country to contribute towards Bangladesh economic development.
“Migrant workers from Bangladesh have been building the economies of destination countries and contributing to Bangladesh’s growth through remittances. If properly supported on return, their skills and saving scan also be important assets for the Economy of Bangladesh,” said Md. Shahriar Kader Siddiky, ERD Secretary.
On average, about 650,000 people migrate from Bangladesh to work abroad every year which has been the trend over the past decade. In 2021, Bangladesh became the top labour sending country in Asia, with 617,000 people migrating abroad for work. This number almost doubled in 2022 to 1,136,000. The remittances of migrant workers rank second only to the country’s earnings from ready-made garment exports.
The reintegration project will ensure returning migrant workers have access to employment and business development services in an integrated and coordinated manner so that they are able to continue being economically productive in their respective home districts. Corinne Henchoz Pignani, the Chargée d’affaires a.i., Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh signed the agreement as a witness. Also present for the project signing were the Government’s UN Wing Chief A K M Sohel, officials from the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, the Wage Earners’ Welfare Board, the Planning Commission, and the ILO.
“Returning migrants need a conducive policy environment, recognition of the skills they acquired abroad, information on employment and business opportunities, financial support, social security, and psychosocial support to successfully settle back into the country and work,” said Tuomo Poutiainen, ILO Country Director in Bangladesh.
The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment (MoEWOE) with ILO as the main technical partner. Other partners are the IOM and UN Women, the employers’ and workers’ organisations.