Make use of manpower export potentials as host countries are opening up

10 October 2021

Bangladesh has sent more than 300,000 workers abroad on jobs in the last nine months of this calendar year as manpower export picks up after a slump in 2020. The number of outbound migrant workers reached 317,799 during the January-September period, 46 per cent higher than the same period of last year. In 2020 manpower recruiters could send only 217,669 workers, according to the official count. Vital host countries had suspended air travel for a certain time to check coronavirus infection last year, resulting in loss of jobs and slowdown in fresh recruitments.
According to government statistics, of the total job seekers who went abroad, 42,008 went in September as the restrictions increasingly eased. Saudi Arabia recently increased the job quota for Bangladeshi workers to 40 percent from 30 per cent in the private sector. Manpower recruiters said if Bangladesh can tap the opportunity properly, recruitment of workers in the gulf country would increase several times in the days ahead. Saudi Arabia hired 31,238 workers from Bangladesh in September. The second-highest number of recruits was taken by Oman, numbering 4661, followed by Qatar's 1,568 and Jordan's 1,324. Recruiting agencies are working with about 100,000 demands from Saudi Arabia now. If the trend continues, the country would be able to send nearly 500,000 workers in 2021.
Many economies are reopening after the pandemic-induced shutdowns made them hamstrung by labour shortages. If Malaysia resumes recruitment from Bangladesh soon, a notable number of workers would be absorbed there. Recruiters said the government should enhance facilities for them and jobseekers to utilise the potential of overseas labour markets. Migrant rights activists have emphasised quality migration so that workers do not suffer in the host countries. Migrant workers even now pay high recruitment fees and face different forms of maltreatment because of unethical practices. The government should monitor and regulate the recruitment, airfare, customs protocols and make the system win-win for all. Remittances from migrant workers form the life-blood of the economy. Forex earners need more support and care.

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