12 days ago

Ensuring safe and legal migration

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Dozens perish in the sea or inside freezer vans, and many more are rescued from the jaws of death every year when thousands of people, mainly from poor developing countries of Asia and Africa, try to enter affluent European countries illegally. Bangladeshis are also very often found among the victims of illegal migration. Such tragedies happen in contrast to thousands of jobs remaining vacant in the dream destinations of the illegal migrants, namely, France, Germany and Italy. Taking part in a dialogue, organised by the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka on Tuesday, director general of the International Centre for Migration Promotion and Development Michael Spindelegger said Europe has a good demand for workers from abroad and Germany alone needs four million workers every year.

European countries, however, are ready to absorb only legal foreign migrant workers, as they always promote legal and safe migration. Legal migrant workers are usually assured of a stable income and decent workplace. The pains of being illegal migrants, be it in a Middle-eastern or a European country, do not need any elaboration. The fear of being caught by the police or any other legal authority haunts them all the time. Taking advantage of the situation, employers also offer wages much below the market rates. Overall, the situation they encounter almost at every step does not anyway match the expectations that drove them out of their homes.

One, however, has to admit the fact that the majority of job seekers who try to sneak into European countries illegally lack the necessary skill and education to become legal migrants. Their objective is to enter Europe using the services of human traffickers and manage odd jobs or become, at least, street vendors. They know their earnings would be far greater than what the legal migrants fetch in the Gulf countries. So, the urge to make it to Europe is noticeably strong among the young unemployed people in Bangladesh. Yet legal migration would have made them far better off, financially and mentally.

But how can Bangladeshis take up jobs in European countries legally when none of the latter officially expresses such an intention to the Bangladesh government? So, before the initiation of any move to promote the safe and legal migration of Bangladeshis to Europe, a few issues need to be addressed. Bangladesh's government must know the manpower requirement of potential European countries, in terms of skill and education levels and make ready a suitable workforce for export. And the European countries, to avoid entry of illegal migrants, should place indents for workforce recruitment. Thus, joint efforts and cooperation, not rhetoric or mere wishes, can ensure a safe and legal migration. Most European countries are resistant to migrant workers, particularly from Asia and Africa. There has to be a change in that attitude if they are willing to stop illegal migration.


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