65,372 undocumented Bangladeshi workers deported in 2019

Rabiul Islam and Toriqul Islam | Update:

Deportees by years. Prothom Alo infograph

With high expectations of a better life for herself and her family, Dalia Begum of Munshiganj, had gone to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to work as a housemaid.

However, her dreams came to an end in just 14 months. After facing gruesome physical and mental torture, she was then deported home on 26 August 2019.

Like Dalia, many male and female migrant workers are being deported from various countries, including Saudi Arabia, Oman and Malaysia.

The expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry statistics show a total of 65,372 Bangladeshi migrants were sent back in 2019.

Rights activists have expressed grave concern over the huge number of deportees.

They said many migrants are sent to Saudi Arabia on free visa, but there is no work. It is also found that a migrant is sent through regular channels to work as a salesperson but is eventually provided with work as a day labourer.

Deportation by years. Prothom Alo infographThe rights activists said overseas employment is one of the key factors for the country's prosperity. The country earned $16.67 billion by sending 604,060 male and female migrants overseas till November of 2019.

WARBE Development Foundation has been working for safe migration for long.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, its chairman Syed Saiful Haque said it is a matter of great concern that many migrants are being cheated and deported every year.

He suggested that the countries sending the workers as well as the destination countries should follow the fair recruitment policy of ILO so that the migrants are not cheated.

Saiful Haque said the governments of both countries need to create monitoring mechanisms to stop irregular migration.

Female Bangladeshi migrants at at Dhaka airport. Prothom Alo file photo

When several expat ministry high officials were contacted for comment, most were unavailable.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, expat ministry additional secretary Syeda Sahana Bari said, "It is true that many migrants are facing problems." She, however, declined to make further comments as she is now sick and on leave.

The ministry data also shows the number of deportees were 68,382 in 2018, 50,148 in 2017, 41,626 in 2016, 56,674 in 2015, and 47,261 in 2014.

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