Ansar Ahmed Ullah, London (BASUG/OurVoice): Bangladeshi expatriates living in Europe, US and Australasia are to get smart cards to access welfare facilities like foreign wage earners and migrant workers said Minister for Expatriates, Welfare and Overseas Employment.
The Minister for Expatriates, Welfare and Overseas Employment Nurul Islam BSc was speaking at a seminar on ‘Diaspora, Migration and Development’ jointly organised by The Netherland based BASUG, diaspora & development organisation and Films 4 Peace Foundation, Bangladesh at the Ministry of Expatriates, Welfare and Overseas Employment conference hall on 5 November.
The Minister said, ‘The demand of migrant is increasing day by day. This year additional 20,000 more migrant workers have gone abroad with employment. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has keen interest in the welfare of the migrant workers.’
An estimated 111 million migrants are living in 162 countries and their annual remittance has risen to $15 billion. Additional Secretary Mohammad Azharul Huq said the Ministry is setting a special cell for Diaspora living all over the world. He said the new policy on migrant workers and expat wage earners is expected to be passed in the Parliament soon and will open doors for expanding welfare and facilities for expatriates abroad. He also said that the Ministry for Expatriates, Welfare and Overseas Employment has embarked upon diaspora mapping, which will enable the Bangladesh missions and ministry concerned to provide support on demand.
Others who spoke at the seminar moderated by Mohammed Azharul Huq were Prof Moazzem Hossain of Griffith University, Australia on Engagement of Diaspora for development, BASUG’s German Country President Dr Ahmed Ziauddin, Chairperson of BASUG from The Netherlands Bikash Chowdhury Barua who made keynote presentation, Chairman, Films for Peace Foundation, Pervez Siddiqui.
The seminar followed a debate on Desh TV’s ShojaKotha on 30 October where BASUG’s German Country Coordinator Dr Ahmed Ziauddin, Chairperson of BASUG from The Netherlands Bikash Chowdhury Barua and UK’s Country Coordinator Ansar Ahmed Ullah discussed ‘Diaspora contribution towards Bangladesh’s economy and development: Challenges and government’s responsibility’ hosted by Mohammad Jahangir.
Finally, Bikash Chowdhury Barua urged the Bangladesh government to involve the stakeholders to evolve a migrant-friendly policy framework for the Bangladeshi diaspora living and working abroad.