Written by: Kanij Fatima Maisha
Bangladesh has recently witnessed the passing of a bill named ‘The Overseas Employment and Migrants (Amendment) Bill through voice votes in the year 2023. Since the name says about amendments and reformation, there must have been an authentic bill before which had to change over the years.
One of the aims of this bill is to make middlemen accountable for handling international migration. Besides, the bill has pointed out specifically that only registered overseas employment recruiting processes will get the expected recognition as per the law. The Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment is the concerned authority regarding the bill.
~𝐖𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐀𝐜𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐀𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐎𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐬 𝐄𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐨𝐲𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐌𝐢𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐀𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐁𝐢𝐥𝐥, 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑?
This specific passed bill of 2023 has amended the Overseas Employment and Migration Act 2013. The Overseas Employment and Migration Act of 2013 seeks to promote equal opportunities for overseas employment and to establish a fair system of labor migration. That act has focused on preventing irregular migration and related inspections, no recruitment agency shall act upon their duties without issuing any license. Somehow, the Overseas Employment and Migration Act of 2013 missed the current challenges that migrants face while going abroad. Besides, the concern of female migrants, their violence, and coming to their home country being dead bodies were not a part of the main act.
~𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐄𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐁𝐢𝐥𝐥?
Although the passed bill is an amendment bill, it deals with a range of things related to overseas employment and migration. Here is the critical analysis of each of the standards that have been followed (Overseas Employment and Migrants (Amendment) Bill 2023 Passed in JS, n.d.):
𝟏. 𝐃𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐒𝐮𝐛-𝐀𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐫 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞
The concept of a sub-agent or representative meant a registered person under a similar act which is also a representative of a recruiting agency. To ensure the accountability of the sub-agent or representative for committing any crime regarding the employment or migration process, the agency will be fined between a minimum of Tk 50,000 to a maximum of Tk 2 lakh. Besides, there is a risk of losing a recruiting license if the complaint turns out to be a serious one.
𝟐. 𝐊𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐚𝐜𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐁𝐚𝐧𝐤 𝐋𝐨𝐚𝐧𝐬
Not only bank loans, but there are also provisions for the facilitation of tax, investments, savings, and scholarships under any kind of financial assistance that works for the welfare of the migrant workers.
𝟑. 𝐀𝐝𝐨𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐒𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐖𝐞𝐥𝐟𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐅𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐞 𝐌𝐢𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐫𝐬
Female Migrant Workers who stay abroad have to be given the expected respect, dignity, safety as well and security through the special financial and welfare program. Interestingly, the bill has favored examining the health condition of female workers within 3 months of them going to work.
𝟒. 𝐃𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐀 𝐒𝐞𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐋𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐢𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐢𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭
The demand is a revolutionary one as the passed bill has also focused on having a separate lounge only for migrant workers for their hassle-free journey. This particular statement was shared by Jatiya Party MP Shamim Haider Patwari which reflects the importance of migrant workers in a sovereign country.
~𝐂𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐀𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐲𝐬𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐈𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐁𝐢𝐥𝐥
The bill, first and foremost, figures out the fact of violating rights in international migration. Keeping the sub-agent accountable for their deeds is just bringing them into the legal framework. The legal action is not an exception to the middlemen. More than 10 million migrant workers sent a record amount of remittance in the crisis moment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill has prioritized female employment opportunities and aimed to reduce the violence females receive abroad. This is one of the key aspects to be noted because there is an increase in female overseas employment after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia started allowing women to migrate completely free of cost. All thanks to the deal of 2015.
The aim of the amendment bill has the chance to reduce the oppression and tyranny of middlemen as well as brokers in the workforce. The license would not help in certain cases if certain recruiting agencies, middlemen, or sub-agents avoided legal action for their involvement in illegal activities. The rule of law of the country has to ensure these sorts of things.
The budgetary allocation is one of the crucial factors that come up in the parliament while discussing this bill. According to Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary, the government must enhance the ministry budget on the welfare of expatriates for the concerned authority- Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry (JS passes Overseas Employment and Migrants (amendment) Bill-2023, Sep 14, 2023)
From The Overseas Employment and Migration Act of 2013 to the Overseas Employment and Migrants Amendment Bill of 2023, things have changed in the last 10 years. Concerns have been raised against the safety and security of migrants who aim to go abroad. No matter for which reasons migrants go abroad, either for overseas employment or migrate temporarily, no migrants deserves deaths or unjust treatment from the overseas employees. This bill has focused on only the home country’s responsibility towards migrants. To ensure the just treatment from the home country towards migrants, the necessary budgetary allocation, the separate lounge for migrant workers indeed is significant. Other recommendations would be:
● 𝐄𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐑𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐆𝐞𝐭 𝐈𝐧𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧
Migrant workers have the right to get information on the migration process, and employment environment. In that case, enough monitoring system has to be ensured along with the address of inadequate resources and lack of infrastructure.
If certain changes have been made in the Overseas Employment and Migrants Amendment Bill, it is expected that migrants will get their justice under any fraud they face on their way back home and abroad in the future.
This article is 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐭-𝟎1 of YPF safe Migration Policy Team’s”𝐁𝐞𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐉𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐲𝐬: 𝐄𝐱𝐩𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐢𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧” series
To Read Part- 02 Click Here
To Read Part-03 Click Here
To Read Part-04 Click Here
To Read Part-05 Click Here
To Read Part-06 Click Here
- Overseas Employment and Migrants (Amendment) Bill 2023 passed in JS. Overseas Employment and Migrants (amendment) Bill 2023 passed in JS (dhakatribune.com)
- JS passes Overseas Employment Bill. JS passes Overseas Employment Bill | The Daily Star
- JS passes Overseas Employment and Migrants (amendment) Bill-2023. JS passes Overseas Employment and Migrants (amendment) Bill-2023 | News (bssnews.net)
- Rights of migrant workers. Rights of migrant workers | The Daily Star
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