A large part of Bangladeshi youth tends to be desperate about going abroad. They become obsessed with going overseas due to lack of employment, as well as social and economic insecurity and pessimist views about Bangladesh’s future. They think going abroad ensures employment and a better life there. Many dream of earning huge sums of money to change the fortune of their families.

These views are not baseless, as is evident from the remittance sent by Bangladeshi migrants from abroad. The remittance is the second top sector of Bangladesh’s foreign exchange. More than 10 million expatriates have been sending remittance home on a regular basis. Last year, they sent a total of $15.54 billion to Bangladesh. So, migrant Bangladeshis play a major role for our economy.

We could view their desperation to go abroad optimistically as there is lack of employment opportunities in the country. But, we need to consider the process of their travelling abroad and how this is tarnishing the image of Bangladesh there.

The routes to travel abroad are not that smooth. Some routes are very dangerous. A few days ago, 40 Bangladeshis drowned while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Italy from Libya. Bangladeshi nationals who were migration seekers in Europe drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in a boat capsize in 2015 as well. Many died while crossing the Sahara desert.

As for the fortune-seekers who managed to survive and reach Europe, are now illegal in those countries. More than 100,000 Bangladeshis have been living in several European countries illegally. Their life there is not pleasant and they cannot earn enough as expected. Those who recruit these illegal migrants give them less wages. The illegal migrants fear police harassment and many are serving jail terms. Their deplorable condition tarnishes the image of Bangladesh to the concerned country and its people.

Media reports say many migration seeker Bangladeshis are now vying to go to England on the pretext of watching the Cricket World Cup, but aim to stay on illegally. Around 10,000 Bangladeshi nationals have already bought tickets for the tournament online, media reports say. Various travel agencies are adopting dubious means to help them get British visas.

During FIFA World Cup 2018, some Bangladeshis were arrested by police as they tried to reach their destination countries illegally from Russia. It cannot be ruled out that some of the Bangladeshis who are to visit England to watch ICC Cricket World Cup will try to stay in England or other European countries this year. This is tarnishing the image of Bangladesh abroad. Getting visas legally is becoming difficult for all Bangladeshis.

All routes to go abroad illegally have to be stopped. This is not an easy task but we cannot ignore it.