Female labour migration decreases

Mahiuddin . Dhaka | Update:

Female migrantsThe Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the destination of 80 per cent of Bangladeshi female migration.

According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), the female labour migration to the oil rich country has decreased recently.

BMET data shows over 121,925 female migrants went to Saudi Arabia in 2017 while the number decreases to 101,695 in 2018.

In first two months of 2018, a total of 16,624 female migrants went to Saudi Arabia while number decreases to 14,394 in the corresponding period of 2019.

The stakeholders said the female labour migration to Saudi Arabia will fall if the flow of returning migrants is not stemmed.

"People are afraid as the female migrants are returning from Saudi Arabia after being tortured there," Bangladeshi Ovibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA) general secretary Sheikh Rumana told Prothom Alo.

She also said many return due to language problems. As the news of returning migrants spread, many are unwilling to go, she added.

Bangladesh labour wing in Saudi Arabia in a letter to the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment said a total of 2,222 female migrants returned from Saudi Arabia between January of 2018 and March of 2019.

The letter said many are staying at safe homes in Saudi Arabia, awaiting return.

According to the non-government organisation BRAC, at least 1,353 female migrants returned from Saudi Arabia in 2018. All of them said that they returned after being tortured. In three months of this year, at least 636 female migrants returned from Saudi Arabia.

"One month's training is mandatory for sending female workers to Saudi Arabia, but this is not followed. Recruiting agents are being held responsible for returning female migrants after being allegedly tortured in Saudi Arabia," expatriates' welfare and overseas employment secretary Rounak Jahan told Prothom Alo.

Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) secretary general Shamim Ahmed Chowdhury said all allegations of returned female migrants are not true.

"Most of the female migrants return as they cannot adjust. The facts will be revealed if the embassy investigates the matter," he told Prothom Alo.

Private recruiters suggest that if the migrants are sent with proper training, the number of migrants will increase while the returning migrants will decrease.

Bangladesh signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia for housemaids in 2015. Bangladesh agreed to send a female worker for 800 Saudi riyals (per riyal Tk 20).

* This report, originally published in Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.

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