Registered No: D A-1
Published by the Authority
Sunday, November 5, 2006
of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare & Overseas Employment
Section – 5
Dated, 7 Kartik 1413/22 October 2006
No: MEWOE-5/Misc.-14/2002(Part-2/1063 : Since manpower is a major export sector for Bangladesh economy and since the government has taken decision to undertake long term program for ensuring the welfare of the Bangladeshi expatriates and to enhance and streamline employment opportunities for Bangladeshis in abroad;
Therefore, to fulfill the vision of the government, this policy under the title of ‘Overseas Employment Policy’ is launched as per principles enumerated below:
According to Article 20 and 40 of the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the state is pledge-bound to assist all citizens, males and females, in creating opportunities for employment as per their qualifications also to facilitate human resource development. In performing this constitutional responsibility, the government is responsive and active in generating employment within the country as well creating job opportunities in abroad for its citizens. Realizing the deep linkage between migration and economic development, the 8th Parliamentary government created a separate ministry under the title of the Ministry of the Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment (MOEWOE) to ensure efficient management of the manpower export sector. To make the sector dynamic, rewarding and hassle-free for aspirant migrants, the Ministry took the initiative through inter-ministerial meetings and gathered assistance of experts to formulate the Overseas Employment Policy. After the independence of the country, realizing the dearth of employment opportunities within the country due resource constraint, the Late President Ziaur Rahman took the initiative to create the Bureau of Manpower, Employment & Training in 1976 to promote export of manpower abroad. Since then and in the period between 1976 and 2005, about 4.2 million skilled and unskilled Bangladeshis have been employed in different countries through private and government efforts. Encouraged by excellent performance and rapidly increasing demand for Bangladeshi workers in abroad, special focus has been placed on manpower export activities. Resultantly, scope and reach of the Bureau of Manpower, Employment & Training has been expanded and 12 Labor Wings established in Bangladeshi missions abroad.
Considering the great contribution of migrant workers to our national economy, the newly established ministry undertook some measures to promote transparency and instill dynamism in the trade, facilitate qualitative change in the trade, reduce fraudulent practices, migration cost and ensure better salary, create an environment for accessibility of aspirant migrants to migration process from all areas of the country and to ensure overall welfare for the dependents of the Bangladeshi expatriates and migrant workers. Resultantly, within short time of creation of the ministry, significant increase both in export of manpower and remittances is achieved. If the manpower export sector is brought under an appropriate policy framework, it will have a very positive impact on overall economic development of the country.
The relationship between migration and development is age-old. Recently the UN, the World Bank and IMF have identified migration as a tool for faster development. In the face of declining population in the developed countries, it has become imperative to encourage migration to sustain the pace of their development. Fast emerging economies of South-East Asian and the oil-rich countries of the Middle East are largely dependent on migrant workers from Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is one of the labor sending countries in the international labor market. Due to very limited employment opportunities within the country, special emphasis is given to enhance scope for overseas employment as a tool to accelerate pace of poverty alleviation activities. The remittances from Bangladeshi expatriate workers has greatly helped to maintain a stable foreign currency reserve and reduced dependence of the country on foreign aid. To strengthen Bangladesh’s participation in the competitive global job market and to make our manpower export sector more dynamic and streamlined, the present government has taken the initiative to formulate a national policy on overseas employment.
All the Bangladeshis, male and female migrant workers who are presently working abroad on contractual jobs, the permanent and temporary residents who already are foreign citizens or willing to embrace foreign citizenship but keeping close relationship and participating in the socio-economic activities of the home country, commonly termed as Diaspora, shall fall under the scope of this policy.
Irrespective of males and females, the Government shall extend all assistance to the Bangladeshi citizens in the process of choosing standard employment. The government shall remain vigilant in ensuring and protecting the rights and privileges in the work-place as per labor laws of the host country and ensure protection of their universal human rights and social securities. In addition to protecting economic entity, the government shall also ensure recognition and protection of social identity of the migrants.
The aim of the Overseas Employment Policy is expand the scope of overseas employment opportunities and bring discipline in the sector implementing the following.
1. Ensure opportunities for all aspirant Bangladeshis from anywhere in the country at reasonable cost for both short-term and long-term migration.
2. Take effective measures for abolition of irregular migration in cooperation with related ministries.
3. To be proactively committed in protecting rights, dignity and security of the migrant workers both inside the country and in abroad.
4. Along with skilled and un-skilled workers, the government is also committed to enhance migration opportunities for professionals.
5. To take steps in ensuring, within the country, the social security and protection of movable and immovable properties of the families of both short-term and long-term migrants.
6. Ensure measures to sustain the existing labor markets and explore new ones.
7. To sustain current markets and access the new market, arrangements shall be made to impart training as per standards of the receiving countries as well as the target markets.
8. Manage the recruitment process efficiently.
9. To brand fraudulence practices in the migration process as offence against national interest and formulate new laws, as needs be, to prosecute any such offender whether he/she is an individual, a government employee or a private enterprise.
10. Make provisions for rewarding and honoring recruiting agents on the basis of their contribution in opening new markets, success in sending significant number of skilled workers, skilled female workers and for procuring demands at low migration cost with better salaries.
11. Facilitate market opening for Bangladeshi goods in the host countries keeping in view the demand generated by Bangladeshi migrants living there.
12. Undertake various projects to ensure welfare of migrant workers through utilization of Wage Earners’ Welfare Fund.
13. Encourage remittances through formal channel and assist the migrant and his family in proper and efficient utilization of remitted fund.
14. Strengthen steps for encouraging the long-term and short-term migrants for investing in Bangladesh.
15. Assist returned migrants in social and economic reintegration within the country.
16. Arrange co-ordination among related ministries/departments, government and semi-government bodies, BAIRA and other private and international organizations involved in the labor migration process.
Protecting the rights of migrant workers:
1. Sign bilateral agreements or Memorandum of Understandings with labor receiving countries.
2. Collect and review human rights practices and labor laws of the receiving countries and disseminate such information among the migrant workers.
3. Store pertinent information of all the expatriates (like address of the worker and employer, etc.) in the computer database of Bangladeshi missions abroad.
4. Provide legal assistance the workers in trouble and in need such assistance.
5. Provide all sorts of assistance by the government to expatriate Bangladeshis in facing any sort of emergencies.
6. In league with other labor sending countries, articulate and press for rights and related issues of migrant workers in international forums.
7. Actively participate in seminars, meetings and symposiums organized by ILO, IOM or such international organizations.
Within the country
1. Increase the duration and also spread to the divisional and district level, the ongoing pre-migration briefings programs given to the migrant workers for preliminary ideas on their duties, nature of job, salaries and benefits, the culture and laws in the host countries, and also to review and change the curriculum and to print and distribute booklets containing pertinent information for the migrant workers.
2. To save aspirant migrant workers from fraudulence practices and to create awareness of the risk and bad consequences of illegal migration, a concerted campaign to be launched in print and electronic media by informing the people of the process of legal migration, migration cost, job natures, salaries and other benefits, usual terms of contract, the necessity for written agreement with employer, etc.
3. Fixation of pragmatic labor standards and its regular evaluation.
4. Ensure specific mention of working hours, rate of wages, over-time, leave, health services, entertainment and freedom of mobility, etc. in the job contract between the worker and employer.
5. Create awareness among migrant workers about health related issues, especially of the HIV/AID viruses.
Sustaining current labor markets and exploring new markets
1. Collect information from websites and prepare report on future development programmes of labor receiving countries and the estimated projections of their future labor requirement. The reports, so prepared, to be distributed to concerned ministries/departments of government and private organizations involved in human resource development and upload such reports in the website of Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment.
2. Send high-powered government delegation to existing labor importing countries as well as to the potential countries to explore and create opportunities for export of Bangladeshi workers.
3. Regularly publish information on labor markets in the form of a bulletin.
4. Disseminate information in host countries on availability of different categories of human resources in Bangladesh.
5. Sensitize and invigorate foreign missions to put every effort for creating employment opportunities. Regular reports on such activities to be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment.
Human Resource Development
1. Review the existing national policies on human resource development in the context of international labor markets and trends.
2. Identify areas for incorporating vocational training in current curriculum.
3. Align human resource development activities in line with global requirements.
4. Introduce standard English language education from primary level in cooperation with related ministries.
5. Identify and follow international standards in the areas of specialized training.
6. Enhance foreign employment of women through creating training opportunities for professions such as nursing, housemaids, care-givers of elderly people, childcare, etc.
7. Create increased number of human resources in different sector including information technology.
1. Fixing of labor standards for migrant workers by regularly evaluating and analyzing international labor markets.
2. Set specific standards for issuing and renewing licenses of recruiting agencies.
3. Fix category-wise reasonable migration cost by comparing expenses in employing country, airfare, passport cost, medical fees, service charges for recruiting agencies, training expenses, etc. with those of other labor sending countries of similar job categories and disseminate such migration cost widely in print and electronic media.
4. Determination of minimum wage of migrants in accordance to standards of the destination country for different job categories and take all initiatives to ensure receipts of such wages.
5. Ensure all types of financial transactions through banks by recruiting agencies in their recruitment process and take legal measures against errent recruiting agencies.
6. Control recruitment through registration in computer database.
7. Take all measures to prevent illegal migration.
8. All steps to be taken to ease and modernize issuance of state-of-art passports to migrant workers and also to ensure issuance of Police Clearances within 15 (fifteen) days submission of application by migrant workers, as and when needed.
9. To take legal actions against illegal and unauthorized employment by recruiting agents and enact new laws, if needs be.
10. To give legal aid/support to the deceived migrant workers in home and abroad.
11. Collect and preserve information of all types of both short-term and long-term migrant workers.
12. Encourage private and proprietorship employment agencies to create overseas employment opportunities.
Welfare of the Expatriates
1. Manage the Wage Earners’ Welfare Fund in accordance with the provisions in Wage Earners’ Welfare Fund Rules-2002.
2. To ensure easy access of the migrant workers, One-Stop-Service center to be expanded and managed appropriately.
3. Provide effective pre-departure briefings to the migrant workers and educate them on ‘to do’ and ‘not to do’-s in the destination countries.
4. Maintain and operate Welfare Desks at the departure and arrival points in the airports.
5. Assist in repatriation of dead bodies and handing them over to the relatives.
6. Make sure the proper collection and distribution of compensation (from foreign employers/governments) in case of accidents and deaths of migrant workers and provide grants in special cases.
7. To repatriate expatriate Bangladeshi workers who have been arrested and imprisoned in abroad.
8. Provide medical support to sick/disabled expatriate workers.
9. Issue identification cards to returnee migrant workers through registration at the Bureau of Manpower, Employment & Training (BMET).
10. If needs be, create positions and employ local-based welfare officers under the Labor Wing of Bangladesh missions in the destination countries where at least ten thousand or more Bangladeshi migrants are working.
5. Remittance flow and investment
1. Strengthen implementation of different measures adopted by Ministry of Finance and Bangladesh Bank for streamlining remittances through formal channel.
2. Inspire and encourage expatriates to send money through formal channel and caution and educate them of the punishable offences in remitting through informal/illegal channels.
3. Launch campaign to educate the expatriates and their families of the benefits of investment in foreign currencies, in government’s bond instruments, etc. introduced by Bangladesh Bank.
4. Arrange dissemination of information among migrants and their families of different remittance-based financial programs introduced by different banking and financial institutions/organization.
5. Assist the migrants and their families to invest their remittances in potential productive sectors.
Economic and social reintegration of returned migrants
1. Make arrangement for registration of returned migrants.
2. Provide information to returned migrants of the employment opportunities.
3. Assist returned migrants in using their acquired skill in national development.
4. Assist to develop their linkages with private sector.
5. Assist returned migrants in adopt sustainable projects and avail credit facilities.
Discipline and behavioral pattern of migrants
1. Take steps to ensure that the migrant workers abide by the rules and regulations and observe and honor the customs and culture of the host country.
2. Any migrant worker found guilty as per laws of the host country, he has to return home at own expense.
Institutional infra-structure for Policy Implementation
International migration from Bangladesh is conducted under the framework of Emigration Ordinance 1982. As per this ordinance, the primary responsibility of implementation of ‘Overseas Employment Policy’ lies with the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare & Overseas Employment. Under overall control of the ministry, the Bureau of Manpower, Employment & Training shall ensure its application. Apart from the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare & Overseas Employment, other ministries, government and non-government bodies, private organizations, institutions and associations are also linked to the migration process. Their activities are interlinked. Under these circumstances, inter-ministerial and inter-agency coordination among all stakeholders is extremely important (detailed responsibilities and duties are appended as ‘Annexure’.) This responsibility will be carried on with sincere cooperation of all concerned and by the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare & Overseas Employment.
Duties and responsibilities of different Ministries/Departments, Offices, Directorates, Public and Private Organizations in respect of welfare of expatriates and overseas employment:
Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare & Overseas Employment
1. Protect the current labor markets and explore new ones.
2. Formulate and legislate new laws, rules and principles and amend, add and/ or change existing ones in line with principles embodied in Overseas Employment Policy.
3. Control, monitor and supervise the public and private training centres including those of BMET.
4. Control and monitor all activities of Bangladesh Overseas Employment Services (BOESL).
5. Appoint and administer the officers and staff of Labour Wings of our foreign missions abroad.
6. Administrative supervision of the Wage Earners’ Welfare Fund.
7. Perform the secretarial responsibility of all the financial matters of the Ministry.
8. Maintain liaison and sign agreements, Memorandum of Understandings, etc., as and when needs be, with international organizations and global bodies whose works are functionally related to this ministry.
9. Create a research cell to collect and store data and other information related to the matters under responsibility of the ministry.
10. To fix and realize government fees (except legal instruments’ fees) on the applicable matters under the purview of the ministry.
11. To enhance honor and status of our expatriates, the ministry will undertake special projects and observe such days, like Bangladesh Migration Day, International Migration Day, etc. and honor expatriates by decorating deserving expatriates as Commercially Important Persons (CIP) and awarding medals and other forms of recognition.
12. Make all efforts to integrate second and third generation expatriates with Bangladeshi cultures and its heritage.
13. Encourage expatriates to invest in Bangladesh.
14. Create facilitating environment to attract and make best use of the experiences and skills acquired by long-term expatriates.
15. To keep close contact with long-term migrants and with their support and cooperation, educate and restrain our migrant workers from unwarranted political and trade union activities in the host country.
Bureau of Manpower, Employment & Training (BMET)
1. To prepare quarterly report and updates on the data and information received from Bangladeshi missions abroad.
2. To take necessary steps for procuring demands and enhance overseas employment opportunities for Bangladeshis.
3. Evaluate the activities of Labor Wings in every six months.
4. To keep informed the related ministries of the areas for development of human resources compatible to changing demand patterns in short and long-term markets.
5. Ensure creation of data-base on the basis of profession categories and skill level of the aspirant migrants.
6. Enhance efficiency of human resource development institutions under BMET.
7. To educate and make aware the government and private specialized training institutions of the demand patterns of foreign job markets.
8. To disseminate correct information on safe migration to aspirant female migrants.
9. Give pre-departure briefing and prepare and distribute booklets containing information about rights and privileges, responsibilities, ways and means of sending remittances through proper channel, salaries and terms of contract, medical facilities, etc. and of laws, language and culture of the host countries.
10. Undertake proper activities to ensure security and welfare of the migrants.
11. Issue emigration clearances through computerized online system and control illegal movement with the help appropriate IT technology.
District Employment and Manpower Offices (DEMO)
1. Register aspirant migrants on skill-category basis into online computer database.
2. Take measures to enhance efficiency of staff in doing job-seekers’ registration.
3. To register returnee migrant workers according to job-category.
4. To assist in treatment and rehabilitate the returnee migrants who fell victim of accident in foreign country.
5. To assist in transportation and burial of dead bodies of migrants in their own town or village.
6. To distribute compensation received against death or accident of migrant worker to the victim or the legal inheritors.
Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Ltd. (BOESL)
1. In competing with private recruiting agents, identify the road-blocks in enhancing manpower export and work-out modus operandi for removing such barriers.
2. Create examples of reduced migration cost.
3. Project data and information in BMET’s website on the position of demand in labor importing countries.
4. Procure more demands for manpower export.
5. Recruit from BMET’s database against procured demands.
6. Explore avenues of job placement of females and take appropriates measures for their employment.
7. Train BOESL staff on proper utilization of market information.
Technical Training Centers and Bangladesh Institute of Marine Technology
1. Modernize the training institutes as per need of the day.
2. Create skilled manpower as per requirement of home and abroad.
3. Targeting the need and demand of the labor employing countries, initiate new and modern vocational trainings.
4. Give training to female workers as per need and demand foreign markets.
5. Create skilled marine technicians by imparting technical and vocational trainings.
6. To increase scope and diversity of training of electronics and IT technicians compatible to global demand.
Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA)
1. Monitor and control recruiting agencies as per rules and regulations of the Government.
2. Search out overseas job markets alongside the government’s efforts.
3. Assist and cooperate in establishing transparency and accountability in the trade and ensure compliance of responsibility and duties of the recruiting agencies.
4. Take effective measures in curbing the unethical competition among recruiting agencies in foreign markets.
5. Take necessary measures in eliminating harassment of the recruits by the middle-men.
6. For the cause of enhancing manpower export, give every support, cooperation and advice to government’s efforts and measures to such end.
7. Responsibilities of related ministries and departments on overseas employment
1. Strengthen manpower export activities.
2. Allocate funds for development of manpower export sector and for welfare of expatriates.
3. Sustain and develop diplomatic relations with labor importing countries.
4. Ease the emigration process.
5. Enhance services in airports.
6. Take steps to protect and secure life and properties of the families of expatriates living in the country.
7. Keeping pace with need of global demand, introduce courses in our education system for improving written and spoken use English and other languages and also introduce vocational training courses.
8. Ease the medical check-up process.
9. To facilitate creation of appropriate environment for savings and investment of money sent by expatriates and also to encourage other development activities, the ministries will take appropriate initiatives. Additionally, the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare & Overseas Employment shall initiate and seek assistance and support from any other ministry for increasing manpower export and for other measures related to welfare of expatriates.
10. Take all measures to stop illegal migration.
11. To initiate steps to introduce modern state-of-art passports for the expatriates and ensure its easy availability and also to make sure that applicant job seekers get police clearance certificate within 15 (fifteen) days of placement with concerned Police Station.
By order of the President of Bangladesh
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