a year ago

High migration cost, fraud cause workers' woes

Says Hossain Zillur, also blaming wage theft, lack of access to justice

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The government talks about maintaining the country's (positive) image abroad. But the image cannot be protected, if its migrant workers are facing difficult situation in other nations.

Economist Hossain Zillur Rahman made the comments at a programme at the National Press Club in the city on Thursday.

He said four factors mainly work behind the workers' sufferings, which are high migration cost, deception, non-payment of wages, and lack of access to justice.

"We are always happy about our remittance growth. But we also need to look at the pains of the workers, which are hidden behind it."

Mr Hossain suggested forming a Covid-Justice Fund for the migrant workers.

He also highlighted the need to discuss the issue of wage theft with the destination countries.

The Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) and Migrant Forum in Asia jointly organised the event - 'Public Testimony of Migrant Workers on Wage Theft'.

RMMRU Executive Director Dr C R Abrar moderated the programme, where 21 workers - who were victims of wage theft in job destination countries - narrated their tragic stories.

The workers returned home from the Middle-East countries, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Lebanon, during Covid and pre-Covid periods.

They said they could not bring home their due wages along with other benefits, including insurance payments, while returning from those countries.

Besides, many of them faced maltreatment, such as excessive workload, and were deprived of due jobs.

Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua said the migrant workers are victims of structural wage theft in the job destination countries.

He also said the workers are called remittance-warriors by the government. But they face various problems abroad, and no remedial measures are taken in this regard.

Bangladesh Press Council Chairman Justice Md Nizamul Haque Nasim said the government has a lot to do to bring back the workers' due wages, and initiatives should be taken for this.

Dr C R Abrar opined that documentation of wage theft is required - at least to create pressure on the destination countries.

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