Written by: Zakia Ritu
In a quiet village nestled along the banks of the Padma River, Rafiq was a man with a dream. He had always known that prospects for a better life were outside the borders of his own Bangladesh. Determined to provide a brighter future for his family, he embarked on a journey that would lead him to the Middle East. Rafiq found work as a skilled laborer in Dubai’s buzzing metropolis. Over the years, Rafiq did more than simply remit money back to Bangladesh; he gained an array of invaluable knowledge and expertise in his chosen field.
Back in Bangladesh, the government was keenly aware of the contributions of people like Rafiq. In 2023, they unveiled a visionary policy known as the “National Diaspora Policy of Bangladesh-2023.” The goal of the policy was to foster an environment that would allow Bangladeshis living abroad to reach their full potential. The policy encourages Bangladeshi expatriates to participate in a variety of economic sectors by offering incentives and support for their initiatives, hence promoting economic growth in general. The strategy further intends to increase remittances from the diaspora by offering incentives for remittance flows and expediting the transfer procedure. These remittances have the potential to reduce poverty, raise living standards, and provide access to healthcare and education in Bangladesh. In order to promote innovation and growth, the policy aims to open up channels for the knowledge and skill-transfer from the diaspora to Bangladesh. Its emphasis on knowledge and skill transfer can solve the problem of brain drain by encouraging experts from the diaspora to contribute their experience to homeland development. This could improve the country’s capacity in a number of fields, such as technology, healthcare, and education. The policy’s cultural engagement initiatives have the potential to increase Bangladesh’s soft power internationally. The approach can promote goodwill by presenting the country’s rich cultural legacy, possibly attracting tourism and international collaborations. Additionally, it attempts to meet the needs and concerns of Bangladeshi expats by offering effective and timely consular help.
For Rafiq, it was a green light to consider returning to his homeland, not just as a laborer but as an entrepreneur. Rafiq made the courageous decision to come back to Bangladesh this year after being encouraged by the new policy’s declarations. With his hard-earned savings and the knowledge he had acquired, he headed into entrepreneurship. His small business venture not only provided employment opportunities but also contributed significantly to the local economy.
The experiences of Rafiq and other Bangladeshi diaspora members show great potential for homeland development but also come with particular challenges. It can be improved, just like any other policy, to address issues and increase efficacy.
One issue is the difficulty of obtaining up-to-date accurate information about the population of Bangladeshis living abroad. The policy should place a high priority on the creation of reliable data gathering tools in order to learn more about the size, capabilities, and requirements of the diaspora in order to solve this. In order to facilitate targeted interaction and support, a dedicated database for diaspora members might be established.
Additionally, attracting diaspora investments can be hampered by regulatory barriers and a lack of streamlined processes. To improve this area, the administration should make it easier and faster for diaspora residents to make investments by providing incentives like tax benefits or lower regulatory requirements.
With this, ensuring that knowledge and skills effectively transfer from the diaspora to Bangladesh can be a complex task. The policy should include institutional channels to enable knowledge and skill transfer, such as mentorship programmes, research collaborations, and skill-sharing initiatives, in order to solve this problem. This procedure can be improved further by creating collaborations between diaspora experts and regional entities. More meaningful engagement can be encouraged by developing cultural exchange initiatives that take into account their preferences and highlight the diversity of Bangladeshi culture.
A lack of participation options or understanding might make it difficult to ensure the diaspora is meaningfully involved in policy creation. To address this, the policy should create venues for diaspora members to offer feedback on measures that affect them, such as online discussion boards, advisory councils, and consultation meetings. It is also crucial to give precise guidance on how diaspora citizens can engage in policy discussions.
Additionally, limited accessibility and responsiveness of consular services can lead to frustration among the diasporas. To adjust this, the policy should put more of an emphasis on improving consular services by growing the network of consulates and embassies, putting in place a user-friendly online portal for consular inquiries and services, and giving consular staff training to address the particular needs of diaspora members.
It’s possible that some diaspora residents are unaware of the National Diaspora Policy or its advantages. The policy should start a broad awareness campaign aimed at the diaspora to address this issue, using a variety of communication channels such social media, diaspora organizations, and cultural events. To keep the diaspora engaged, it is essential to regularly update them on policy developments and achievements.
The effectiveness of the policy may be difficult to assess in the absence of a reliable monitoring and evaluation system. To overcome this, the policy should put in place a thorough framework for monitoring and evaluating its results on a regular basis. To evaluate the efficacy of the policy and make any required modifications, it should be a top priority to collect input from diaspora members and host countries.
In the end, Rafiq’s journey from a small-town resident to migrant labourer, then to business owner in his own country, served as a metaphor for the potential of the Bangladeshi diaspora. The contributions of Bangladesh’s diaspora persisted over time, helping Bangladesh grow. The impact spread far beyond economic remittances, encompassing knowledge transfer, cultural enrichment, and social welfare initiatives. The relationship between the Bangladeshi diaspora and the homeland is a tale of hope, resiliency, and the great potential for mutual growth in a world that is becoming more and more globalized. As the nation continued to evolve, the global Bangladeshi diaspora would remain an integral part of its journey towards a brighter and more prosperous future. Rafiq’s story was just one of many that embodied this transformative narrative.
This article is 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐭-𝟎4 of YPF safe Migration Policy Team’s”𝐁𝐞𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐉𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐲𝐬: 𝐄𝐱𝐩𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐢𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧” series
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1. National Diaspora Policy 2023:
2. News Article 1:
3. News Article 2:
4. News Article 3:
5. News Article 4:
6. News Article 5:
Featured Image Courtesy: Detriot Free Press