Bangladesh could not yet find new markets for its unskilled workers though the job opportunities drastically shrank at traditional destinations in the Middle East and South-East Asia.

Over 30 per cent of 1.2 crore Bangladeshis migrated to Saudi Arabia since 1976 and another 21 per cent to the United Arab Emirates during the same period.

Another 12 per cent migrated to Oman since 1976, six per cent to Qatar, five per cent to Kuwait  and four per cent to Bahrain, according to Migration Report of Bangladesh prepared by Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment with funding from the European Union and technical support from the International Organization for Migration.

The report says eight per cent of the workers had migrated to Malaysia, six per cent to Singapore and eight per cent to other countries since 1976.

The government claimed time and again that they had found out new job markets for ‘our workers’ in Japan, China, Russia, Brazil as well as in several European and African countries.

It’s totally a hollow claim by the government, said migration experts.

 EWOE ministry additional secretary Nojibul Islam told New Age Saturday that the government was exploring new labour markets in Europe as job opportunities opened up there with the number aging population swelling.

 ‘We are imparting spoken foreign language lessons in English, French and Dutch to our aspirant migrants,’ he said.

Construction workers still migrate to the Gulf and the South-East Asian countries mostly for short terms.

According to the Bangladesh Annual Migration Report 2017, there is demand for skilled housekeepers in Hong Kong while South Korea hires a small number of workers for its manufacturing industry.

An estimated 22 lakh young people reach working age while the domestic job market absorb only 10 lakh of them.

Bangladesh government said that surveyed labour markets in over 50 countries but the survey report was never made public.

EWOE ministry additional secretary Nojib told New Age Saturday that he did not have the update of the survey report.

According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, overseas job opportunities shrank by 18 per cent in the first six months of 2019  compared to the  corresponding period of 2018.

A total of 3,32,754 workers took overseas jobs from January to June this year compared to  3,92,002 during the same period of the previous year, BMET data show.

Bangladesh sent 7,34,181 workers in 2018 compared to 10,08,525 in 2017.

Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program chairman Shakirul Islam told New Age that Bangladesh mostly sends unskilled workers who would never qualify for European jobs.

In the absence of fair recruitment system, Bangladeshi workers face problems, he said.

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