Past Events 2021

International Conference on Reintegration of Returnee Migrants affected by COVID-19
Organised by: RMMRU-MFA-PROKAS
Date: 5-6 April 2021
Venue: Online on Zoom
Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) in collaboration with Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and PROKAS, British Council organised the two-day online International Conference on Reintegration of Returnee Migrants affected by the COVID 19 Pandemic on 5-6 April, 2021. The programme discussed on the uncertainties that COVID 19 has imposed on the reintegration of the returnee migrants. Realising the potentials and contributions of the migrants and need for their reintegration in these challenging times, the two-day conference virtually brought together a total of more than 200 participants including members of parliaments, government functionaries, researchers, academics, development practitioners, returnee migrants, representatives of civil society organisations, and development partners of the region to share their thoughts. The conference was moderated by Dr. C R Abrar, Executive Director, RMMRU.Day one of the conference included an Inaugural session along with separate sessions on Gender Responsive Economic Reintegration, Gender Responsive Social Reintegration, and Reintegration Experiences at National Level. On Day two, panelists spoke on the themes Experiences of Reintegration in the Region (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Philippines), International Campaign against Wage Theft, and Returnee Reintegration: Essential Pillar of Temporary Labour Migration Programmes. Each session had four panelists and a session chair who discussed on the respective issues of the sessions. The Concluding Session featured parliamentarians from the country and different regions of Asia who reflected on various issues discussed throughout the programme.

Guest of Honour of the Inaugural Session, Mohamed Yusuf, Governance Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, British High Commission stated, Even when the low interest loan is available, the migrants are reluctant to take. It is very critical to identify the reason of low disbursement.” Special Guest Md. Shahidul Haque, Sr. Advisor on Migration and Humanitarian Policy, IOM, Bangladesh expressed “You cannot talk about return without mentioning detention. Protection in terms of detention and human rights has gotten lower, this needs more attention.” Chief Guest of the inaugural session, Imran Ahmad, MP, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, on his speech stated, “Skill development is what we need to be concerned with. The response for training is low even though we’re paying for it, and for certification. We need to talk about systems and changes to overcome this. I look forward to suggestions which are more tangible.” Shirin Lira, Sr. IBP Manager and Gender and Social Inclusion Adviser, PROKAS, British Council added, Gender sensitiveness should be included in our education curriculum so that people can be empathetic towards male and female migrant workers.”

Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Full-Time Member, NHRC said, we need to evaluate the rights of the migrants in respect of their human rights. We have to ensure their rights properly and give them security abroad and after returning.”

William Gois, Regional Coordinator, MFA mentioned, “we have to place reintegration process in the centre of migration governance. It is a matter of rethinking that how we make reintegration mechanism more fundamental and essential Pillar of Temporary Labour Migration.”

After the panelists of Day two shared their views, takeaways and highlights of the conference were presented by Dr. C R Abrar and William Gois for the consideration of the MPs attending the concluding session. The Guests of Honour of the concluding session were the members of Bangladesh Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration & Development. The session also featured Dr. Dila Sangroula, MP, House of Representative, Central committee member of Nepali Congress-Nepal and Charles Santiago, MP, Member of Parliament for Klan of Malaysia.

international conference

Mahjabeen Khaled, MP, said that, “we are sitting with different stakeholders, beneficiaries. We can follow Philippines in South Asia. Government cannot avoid responsibility to make people aware.” Tanvir Shakil Joy, MP, said, “We don’t have any comprehensive approach to implementation of reintegration in a holistic way. Our migrants need psycho-social counseling. Local government needs to be involved in reintegration process closely.” Rana Mohammad Sohail, MP, stated that, “Returnee migrants are not aware of reintegration. But we have the responsibility as parliamentarians at a policy-making level.” Dr. Dila Sangroula, MP, mentioned, “Returnee migrants are skilled and familiar to the technologies. So, they have scope to create employment using their skill.” Charles Santiago, MP, said, “Reintegration is not just a process on national level, it is a mechanism to cover all the returning migrants’ community of the world.” Special Guest, Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary, MP, Chair, Bangladesh Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration & Development stated, “Government can introduce a sub-committee on reintegration of returning migrant workers. Practically returning migrants cannot get loans easily. Civil society can deal with the proper authority to make the issue easier.”  Session Chair, Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, MP, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment said, “reintegration” should be economic, social and political. The migrants went abroad to earn money which really helped Bangladesh to grow. Now it is our duty to ensure that, the ones who have returned during COVID 19, are duly reintegrated.

In his concluding remarks Dr. Abrar thanked each and everyone for joining the two-day international conference and making it a success.  

Report on The Other Face of Globalization: COVID-19, International Labour Migrants and Left-behind Families in Bangladesh
Jointly Organised by BCSM-RMMRU
27 January 2021
Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) and Bangladesh Civil Society for Migrants (BCSM) organised Dissemination Webinar of the e-Book “The Other Face of Globalisation COVID-19, International Labour Migrants and Left-behind Families in Bangladesh” on 27 January 2021. The objective of the event was to share the findings of BCSM-RMMRU publication with the senior government functionaries, policymakers, civil society stakeholders, and development partners.
Dr. C R Abrar, Executive Director, RMMRU, inaugurated and moderated the webinar. Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair, RMMRU, was the keynote speaker before the guests. In this meeting, honourable guests were Mr. Gerry Fox, Team Leader, PROKAS, Mr. Ignacio Packer, Executive Director, ICVA , Former GFMD Civil Society Coordinator, Professor Dr. Imtiaz Hussain, Head, Global Studies and Governance Programme, Mr. Colin Rajah, Civil Society Action Committee Coordinator, ICMC. Mr. Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary, MP, Chair of Bangladesh Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration & Development, Government of Bangladesh was the Guest of Honour. Mr. Md. Motahar Hossain, Additional Secretary, Research and Policy wing, MoEOWE pesent as the Special Guest and Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, Former Advisor of Care Taker Government of Bangladesh, Chair, PPRC graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair, RMMRU said “the book is to give the idea that what migrants are facing, what they have faced, and emergency situation.” She further added, we tried to identify here in this book, in the future what type of policies and support is required.

Mr. Gerry Fox, finds the book to be a truly impressive piece of work. He said “the book contains really strong information along with research and is important to policy makers.”

Mr. Ignacio Packer, stated, “I found that the book addresses some of the challenges around global migration and the huge amount of challenges that both the states and the migrants themselves are constantly struggling with and how its been exacerbated by the current pandemic.”

Mr. Colin Rajah, said that I am really incredibly impressed and inspired by the level of vibrancy in Bangladesh civil society particularly in relation to migration, we at the global level can learn so much from you in terms of approach and coordination”

Guest of Honour, Mr. Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary, MP, believes, “We need an entrepreneurial state role in skill development, in reshaping the skill in gathering the experience of the returning migrants for upcoming migrants and this way we really have to formulate a national integration policy, it is high time to make a shift from conceptualisation to actualisation.”

Special guest Mr. Md. Motahar Hossain, Additional Secretary, stated, “I have gone through the book I must say I am impressed with the innovative approach that this book takes to provide an in-depth analysis of the concern that have been expressed globally by taking Bangladesh as a case study. I’m sure such an assessment will better the policy framing process for the betterment of the migration governance”.

The Chief Guest, Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, said, “The E-book I would commend for being an example of real time knowledge, policy relevant knowledge to affect real time policy making.” According to Mr. Rahman said, the issue here is real time evidence to influence real time policy making and that demands a different type of orientation.

In his concluding remarks Mr. Syed Saiful Haque, Co-chair BCSM believes the “BCSM and RMMRU are actually showing others in local, regional, and also international level, that how Bangladesh civil society can make work together, particularly in the field of advocacy”

Report on” Demonstration of SafeStep (Version II) Mobile Application” (Zoom Meeting)
Organised by RMMRU-Winrock
10th February 2021
Supported by Winrock International
RMMRU, as the partner of Winrock International is implementing SafeStep project at the community level in four unions of Kaliakair Upazila, Gazipur. To develop a more user-friendly mobile application both Winrock and RMMRU are jointly organizing a demonstration program on the SafeStep mobile application- Version II with national-level stakeholders on February 10, 2021 (Wednesday) at 11 am. The demonstration brings together higher officials from the MoEWOE, BMET, WEWB, recruitment actors, UN agencies, international development organizations, CSO, and other stakeholders. A total of 55 participants joined the programme along with representatives of MoEWOE, BMET, WEWB, BAIRA. Ms. Sung In, Associate Director, Capacity Building-Worker Engagement Elevate Hong Kong Holdings Limited, Mr. Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, Ex-Secretary General, BAIRA. Ms. Shahina Ferdousi, Deputy Secretary MoEWOE, Mr. Masud Rana Chowdhury, Senior Statistical Officer, BMET, Dr. Nurul Islam, TVET Specialist, SEIP project , Ministry of Finance were present as of the prgramme and reflected their insights on SafeStep Mobile Application.

Major Discussion of the Event

Dr. C R Abrar said “SafeStep Mobile application has opened up new opportunities. It will bring efficiency; it will bring about transparency, which is critical. We engaged the stakeholders who are interested in responsible recruitment, and ethical recruitment as they will understands the importance of this.  We are piloting this project to understand to what extent we can bring the benefit of this technology for migrant’s community.”

Ms. Sung In said “we are working together to transform the existing recruiting system and using technology to make migration safer for all workers. We are trying to deliver a useful and impactful solution for workers where they have access to the correct information that helps them make informed decisions etc”

Mr. Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman stated “this is a very useful app and you have included almost everything here, it will help a lot. There are so many things. For the pre migration everything is here. If you include all the registered recruiting agencies in the app, people can choose which agency from here”

Ms. Shahina Ferdousi congratulated RMMRU and Winrock for developing this app, she stated that “l know the Bangladesh government is committed to ensure ethical migration and its transparency, for responsible migration. In the pre-decision stage this app will work.  At the same time all migrants workers who want to go or who are interested to go, will be enriched with the information, is certainly commendable “.

Dr. Nurul Islam stated that the mobile application will do is a direct contact between the recruiting agency and the candidates. Secondly, through this mobile application the Visa Checking system can be expanded so the less educated people can check their visa using this mobile application. Thirdly complaint management of this mobile application can be used for migrants.”

Report on Capacity Building Training of GMC member on Mediation
Date: 13th March 2021
Organised by RMMRU
Supported by FLM
RMMRU organized a capacity building training for RMMRU’s Grievance Management Committee (GMC) members on 13th March 2021 at BURO Bangladesh. The training aims to develop knowledge on mediation and Migration Act -2013 for ensuring proper application of mediation in grassroots levels to promote access to justice for the affected migrants. A total of 30 GMC members (7 female and 23 male) from Gala and Silimpur Union participated the training. Advocate Md. Abdus Shahid, Chief Coordinator, MLAA , as resource person, conducted this capacity building training for GMC members on Migration Mediation, Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013 and ADR.

Objective of the Training

  • Building Capacity of GMC on mediation
  • Enhance knowledge of GMC members about access to justice for affected migrant communities and improve the skill that will define their role in mediation/Salish. 
  • Learning mediation process following every stage of mediation with proper guidance, rules and regulations
  • Developing understanding on Migration Act -2013

Through this training, the GMC members gathered knowledge though discussion on the dispute and dispute resolution method, the importance of mediation, process of mediation, quality of mediator, Migration Act -2013 in context of Mediation and ADR etc. Participants practiced the mediation through role-play to understand the loopholes of the current mediation system and they shared their experience of mediation to mitigate their challenges. 

The opinion of the Participants

Chairman of Silimpur Union, and GMC member Mr. Sadek Ali stated “this type of training is very important to develop the skill of GMC members. Through this training, the members acquired more knowledge to conduct mediation for the migrant’s community”

Mr. Mokbul Husain, GMC member of Elenga said “we are happy to learn more about the mediation process that is very helpful for us. We believe that we can mediate more cases to help the affected migrants in our community

Mr. Rashid thanked RMMRU for organizing such concrete training for the GMC member that will help them to solve problems according to the rules of mediation.