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03rd-Sep-2018

Govt is happy with foreign exchange but migrant workers suffer abroad

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OVER 500 illegal foreigners including unknown number of Bangladeshis were arrested in Malaysia in a police manhunt. News media reported that the crackdown came after a government deadline for irregular migrant workers to go back to their native countries expired on Thursday. Under an amnesty programme, the government had allowed the workers to return home by paying a fine amounting to Bangladeshi taka 8,000. As per Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia, nearly one million Bangladeshis have been working in Malaysia -- of them around half could be undocumented.
The advocacy groups have criticized the crackdown and called for a halt to it while rights campaigners said a plethora of the undocumented migrants became victims of human trafficking and abuses by their employers. The situation has exposed that thousands of Bangladeshis are now facing risks of arrest and deportation from Malaysia. Majority of the Bangladeshi migrants so far went to Malaysia with valid work visas. However, many of them quit their legal jobs because of low wages or non-payment or mistreatment at the workplace. Many workers became undocumented because of gross violations of migration rules and exploitation at the workplace. No doubt the manhunt and forced deportation by Kuala Lumpur would create a lot of problems for the workers who are not yet able to recoup the migration cost.
For Bangladesh, the low-paid workers or labour migration is a crucial feature of the national economy. As per latest central bank data, remittances in Bangladesh decreased to US$ 1316.93million in July from US$ 1384.38 million in June of 2018. We fear, the figure would show a downtrend in the future if the government continues to follow the present policy about migrant workers.   
Getting no job here, the unemployed people take high risk to migrate to different countries. Our government is mainly responsible for the crucial task of regulating its responsibilities about legalizing the illegal migrants. In particular, the government did not take any proper initiative about the illegal migrants in Malaysia.