Past Events 2017

Inception Meeting: Dialogue on Developing Work Strategy for the Application of Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013
Organized by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
Date: 27 April 2017, Dhaka
Venue: Conference Room, DG, BMET, Dhaka

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) organized a dialogue on Developing Work Strategy for the Application of the Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013 on 27 April 2017 at the Conference Room, BMET, Dhaka. Mr. Abdul Hai, acting DG, Mr. Dr. Nurul Islam Director, of BMET, Ms. Ferdousi Akhter Deputy Secretary, MoEWOE, Mr. Kazi Abul Kalam, NCTB enriched the dialogue and prescribed their opinion about mitigation the fraudulence in migration. Mr. Tanvir Mahmud, IBP Manager, British Council, Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman and Ali Haider Chowdhury, BAIRA, representative of national and international organizations were also present and provided their valuable opinion.

In the Programme panel discussant were Mr.Tazul Islam, Director (Employment), Advocate Barkat Ali, Supreme Court, BLAST, Advocate Md.Abu Raihan, Tangail Bar Council, Advocate Mr, Khan Mohammad Shahid, Madaripur Legal Aid, Mr.Reza Uddin, Chairman, Bangra Union, Tangail address the ways o the mediation process and its importance to migration sector. Focus area of the Programme were• Prosecution of Overseas Employment and Migration Law, 2013

• Rules of Law and middleman issue
• Online Complain System
• Arbitration Practices at community level
• Grievance Management System

A major achievement of the programme was to re-open the Online Complain Mechanism and handover it by Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair RMMRU Mr. Tanvir Mahmud, Head of Programmes, PROKAS, British Council and to Acting DG, Mr. Abdul Hai, and BMET. He thanked RMMRU and British Council for their support to reopen the digital complains system which will be helpful for migrants and their families to reduce hassles in migration services.

About this complain Ms. Ferdousi Akhtar, Deputy Secretary, Expatriates' Welfare Ministry stated that”

I am giving thanks for the starting of such challenging job. For their insightful step, there is a place build for complaining. As the Act has enacted in 2013, still the rules have not formed, in this situation the immigrants can complain at least at one place. It feels nice that for this affected migrants will get the chance of recovering.

Another vital task of the programme was to present the survey result of 3 unions of Tangail before going to provide legal support through the mediation process to mitigate the risk of fraudulence in migration system. Marina Sultana, Director, Programme shared a short survey finding through a PowerPoint presentation to understand the fraudulence situation and justice required by migrant survivors at the project location. In this survey it is seen that 87% people said they were deceived by a middleman, 10% said through relatives, friends and 3% said fraud by recruiting agency.

Ms. Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui focused on the rules of law and middleman issues, mediation practices at community and the mitigation strategy under the law.

“We will try to mediate complains of affected migrants through mediation at the local level who doesn’t have enough documents to get justice. As we see that local middleman is responsible in this sector so they have to be identified. They are linked to some recruiting agencies but local people don’t know about the agency. So middlemen get accused of fraudulence. She suggested to include a clause in this Act where it is stated that the middlemen has to register with the recruiting agency and they would have an Identification Card and an institutional structure of Salish or mediation to ensure justice for affected migrants at grassroots level”

Some other suggestions also identified from the opinion of an honorable participant.There are

• Need to aware the Police administration about Migration Act 2013 so that they can support to migrants to file suit under this Act.
• The government has to follow some mechanism of arbitration and mediation as best practices and can apply for migrants services at local level. The people who are engaged with the mediation process, they need to get trained to get the best result out of the mediation system.
• Awareness should be made in order to knowing the differences between the travel agency, recruiting agency, Haj agency and massive awareness campaigning through electronic and print media
• TTC trainer have to provide information to potential migrants about this law when they provide pre-dicision and pre-diputure training
• In online Complain Machanism, only passport and smart card number submit option should have to introduce instead of scan copy of documents as community people don’t have enough facilities of using tools. Government should monitor this online complain system regularly.

Inception Meeting: Dialogue on Developing Work Strategy for the Application of Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013
Organized by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
Date: 25 April 2017, Tangail
Venue: Conference Room, DC Office, Tangail

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) organized a dialogue on Developing Work Strategy for the Application of the Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013 on 25 April 2017 at the Conference Room, DC office, Tangail under the Fairer Labour Migration Project supported by PROKAS, British Council. Mr. Md. Mahbub Hossain, DC, Tangail was the Chief Guest of the programme. Additional SP, Mr. Gobinda Chandra Paul, Mr. Abu Naser Uddin, UNO Kalihati, G.R. Sarwar, Assitant Commissioner Probashi Kollayan Desk, Md. Shahriar Rahman, Assistant Commissioner, Mustanzida parveen, Senior Assistant Commissioner, Mr, Kartik Debnath, AD, DEMO, Advocate Abdur Razzak, President, Tangail Bar Somiti, Advocate Abu Raihan, Tangail Bar Council. Ms. Rawshan Ara Lily, Executive Director, RPDO and other members of Local NGOS, affected migrants and their families were present in the programme involving women and socially excluded groups. They gave their opinion in protection of migrant’s rights and prosecution of Migration Act 2013. One of the major objectives of the programme was to introduce the project activities and expected support from respective officials in reducing the vulnerability of fraudulence in migration and protecting the rights of migrants. The dialogue also focused on the local mediation issues, its application in migration fraudulence to support the deceived migrants.

The dialogue programme moderated by Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui focused on Fraudulence by middleman in migration process, mediation practices for the benefit of affected migrants and the mitigation strategy under the law. Mr Mahbub Hossain, DC Tangail promised to support to mitigate the risk of fraudulence in migration. RMMRU shared a survey finding to understand the fraudulence situation and justice required by migrant survivors at project location. The report also stated the deceived migrants opinion how he/she wanted to mitigate the issues.
In this survey it is reflected that 87% of migrants were deceived by middleman, 10% through relatives, friends and 3% said fraud by recruiting agency. The report also stated the deceived migrants opinion how he/she wanted to mitigate the issues. Honorable Panel Discussant and other participants discussed about the legal services including the focusing areas:
• System of Mediation Practices under Migration Act 2013
• Nature of fraudulence cases reported to DEMO
• Experience of solving fraudulence cases through local government
• System of arbitration practices in BMET
• Experience of handling cases of fraudulence in migration in court
• Expectation of affected migrants in mediation through Grievance Management System (GMS).
• Experience sharing on local level mediation practices
• Prosecution of Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013

Launching ceremony of "Untold Stories of Migrants: Dreams and Realities"
Organized by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
Date: 24 January 2017
Venue: Senate Bhaban, University of Dhaka
Supported by: PROKAS Programme, British Council
Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) launched the "Untold Stories of Migrants: Dreams and Realities", a book capturing migrants' voice. The programme was held on 24 January 2017 at the Senate Bhaban of the University of Dhaka, Dhaka.Mr. Mohammed Shahriar Alam, M.P., the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of Bangladesh graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Dr. Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed, Judge, Supreme Court of Bangladesh was the Guest of Honour. Professor Perween Hasan, Vice-Chancellor, Central Women's University; Professor Fakrul Alam, Department of English, University of Dhaka; Mr. Md. Selim Reza, Additional Secretary and Director General, Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), and Mr. Joel Harding, Governance Team Leader, DFID, British High Commission, Dhaka, Bangladesh offered their reflections on the book as Special Guests. Professor Sumaiya Khair of Department of Law, University of Dhaka, presided over the session while Ms. Munmun Rahman read out passages from the book.After the introduction by the Chair, the participants viewed the photos of migrants that were exhibited. After the session resumed the editor of the volume Professor Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair, RMMRU, introduced the contents highlighting negative and positive experiences of 150 migrants as narrated in the book. Their stories reiterate that migration is an extremely complex phenomenon, and that there is no single narrative of migrants. The stories have been collected by RMMRU over a period of 20 years.

The next section of the programme involved reading selected sections of the book. In one narrative a woman working in Kuwait learned how to care for her invalid employer, was treated well and now owns a tailoring shop; another woman who went to the UAE, prospered, and now wants to help “hapless widows”; another woman who went abroad, learned Hindi, married off her sisters and felt proud that she could provide for the family as the eldest daughter; and some other tales of success and failure.

In offering her thoughts Professor Perween Hasan observed that the stories were humane and touching. She was amazed to learn how little were the needs of the migrants and wondered why adequate support could not be provided to them. Professor Fakrul Alam stated that although Indian writers have been publishing on experiences of Indian diaspora for a long time, some winning prestigious awards, there was a palpable absence of stories of Bangladeshi migrants. This book is the first publication in that regard. He said the stories captured in the book have literary value. He recommended that other works like this should mix longer narratives on migrants’ life experiences with the shorter narratives present in the book, including those of Bangladeshi diaspora. Mr. Selim Reza felt that the stories have immense value for policy makers. Mr. Harding mentioned about the need for ‘collective action’ and ‘keeping the momentum’ alive in order to solve the problems of migrants. Justice Refaat Ahmed termed the stories as invaluable documentation. He said he would treat the volume as ‘case law’.

The Chief Guest State Minister Alam congratulated RMMRU and the editor for undertaking such important task. He commented that “it aptly captured the great achievements of our migrants and at the same time the pains and agonies they and their families endure… Some of the statements of the migrants reflect their true perceptions about migration and their analysis in loss and gain by economic as well as social indicators”. He said the book should be the first volume of a series of many. The Chief Guest reiterated that the Government is trying its best to streamline labour migration from Bangladesh by negotiating with host countries to make life better for migrants and looking for new labour markets. The State Minister further mentioned that the Government has recently enacted the ‘Overseas Employment and Migrants Act 2013’, and is also working hard to reduce transaction costs for sending remittances. He informed that recent bilateral negotiations will create opportunity for some 500,000-700,000 Bangladeshi migrants to be employed this year in Malaysia. The Government will be able to cut off the intermediaries (middlemen) by introducing an online visa system. He stated that the migrants should not change jobs without authorization. He also stated that over 100,000 Bangladeshi migrants are currently working illegally in Malaysia who will get temporary 2 year work passes as part of a deal between the two countries. These migrants will be able to return to Malaysia, legally, for more work once they have returned home too. The State Minister further observed that it is foolish to pay BDT 500,000 to a middleman to migrate. He also reassured that the Government is “keeping a close eye on violations of migrants’ rights in Oman and Qatar”, he said.

All the speakers acknowledged the role of migration in reducing poverty. They felt that the book is an invaluable collection to inform readers about the diverse experiences that migrants face. It will also be an important source for the policy makers to gain insights to develop practical policies. Among others, 150 academicians, researchers, government officials, members of civil society and migrants attended the ceremony. It got a huge coverage in electronic and print media. Below please find the media links: