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Govt mulls gradual curb on unskilled labour export PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Staff Correspondent

The government is contemplating a gradual curb on the export of unskilled workers, as a means to prevent labour exploitation in receiving countries, said a government official Tuesday.

Abdul Matin Chowdhury, secretary to the ministry of expatriates' welfare and overseas employment, told reporters after the inauguration of an international conference on migrant workers: "The more skilled a worker is, the less he is open to exploitation."
 
"We are thinking of measures, such as technical training, so that no unskilled workers from Bangladesh will go abroad to become the victims of exploitation in destination countries."
 
The International Labour Organisation and the ministry of expatriates' welfare and overseas employment have jointly organised the two-day international conference in Dhaka.
 
Abdul Matin said skill development was a long term effort and his ministry, the ministry of labour and employment and the ministry of youth and sports were imparting various technical training to produce skilled and semi-skilled workers for overseas employment.
 
"We will not stop exporting unskilled labour right away as such a measure will increase unemployment," said the secretary.
 
ILO director in Dhaka Panudda Boonpala said migrant workers faced severe problems, usually due to illegal status, in many labour receiving countries.
 
"The common problems of the migrant workers are poor working, living and health conditions. Most of the employers do not pay the workers proper wages as they, usually, do not have legal status in the destination countries," Boonpala told bdnews24.com.
 
"Since the workers have no legal status, their rights are not protected by the labour-receiving countries," she said.
 
She said, nevertheless, there were good recruitment examples in many countries.
 
The representatives of labour-sending and labour-receiving countries should discuss the problems of migrant workers and recommend the best ways of protecting their rights, she added.
 
Representatives from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka are attending the two-day conference being held at the Sheraton Hotel.
 
According to the ILO, 24 million migrant workers from South Asia are employed around the world. Of the total, 29 percent were from Bangladesh while the highest number, 38 percent, were from India.
 
The ILO said 60 percent of South Asian migrant workers went to Gulf countries, 15 percent each to Europe and North America, the remaining 10 percent to neighbouring South Asian countries.
 
According to ILO figures, remittances to South Asia in 2007 were estimated to have totaled $43 billion of which Bangladesh had a share of $6

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