Past Events 2021

Build Back Better: RMMRU eSymposium Series on Covid-19 and Migration
10th eSymposium on Fair and Ethical Recruitment
Organised by RMMRU-BCSM-MFA
31 August 2021
 

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) and Bangladesh Civil Society for Migrants (BCSM) in collaboration with Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) organised the 10th eSymposium on Fair and Ethical Recruitment.

The objective of the consultation was to better understand and highlight the need for ethical recruitment among Bangladeshi stakeholders. It focused on the concept of ethical recruitment, identify the roles of relevant stakeholders including that of the private sector, assess what role CSOs can plan in advocacy on fair and ethical recruitment etc.

Dr. C R Abrar in his keynote presentation highlighted the need for regulating the intermediaries and bringing an end to visa trading. He also suggested that ethical recruiters are to be recognised and provided incentives and the unscrupulous recruiters be blacklisted and penalised. He also added, issuing and renewal of recruiting license should be made on merit and performance.

Ms. Alexis Nadine Bautista, Programme Assistant, MFA said that, the structural challenges towards fair and ethical recruitment need to be looked at. According to Ms. Bautista, collective action is required in this regard.

Chief of Mission, IOM Bangladesh, Mr. Giorgi Gigauri said exploitation of migrants begins at recruitment stage and hence ensuring ethical recruitment will go a long way in addressing their plights.

Special Guest Mr. Md. Shahidul Alam, ndc, DG, BMET highlighted the social costs of migration and the need for developing appropriate policy and programme intervention so that distressed migrants can be provided with meaningful support. He also called for further research to help frame appropriate policies.

Chief Guest of the consultation Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary, MP called for framing a code of conduct on recruitment. He said that labour receiving countries should acknowledge the contribution of migrants in building their economies and thus treat them with respect and dignity.

Guests of the programme highlighted that ensuring fair and ethical recruitment is a precondition for the migrants to optimise from their migration experience. They also felt that migration should be a matter of choice and not a necessity.

The consultation brought together more than 70 national and regional stakeholders including representatives of Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development, ministry and government organisation, development organisations, civil society organisations, the media and representative of MFA. Among others Ms. Nirvana Mujtaba, Consultant, IRIS Secretariat, IOM Geneva, Mr. Shakirul Islam, Chair, OKUP, Ms. Sumaiya Islam, Executive Director, BNSK, Mr. Asif Munier, Migration Expert, Mr. Mir Khairul Alam, ADG, BMET, Dr. Nashid Rizwana Monir, Deputy Secretary of Ministry of EWOE, Mr. Anindya Dutta, Programme Officer, SDC, Former BAIRA Secretary Generals Mr. Ali Haider Chowdhury and Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman participated in the event.

News Coverage of Fair and Ethical Recruitment

The Daily Star   The Business Standard   The New age  The Financial Express

Capacity Building Training on Arbitration/Mediation in Migration Services for DEMO and BMET
Date: 28th August 2021
Organised by: Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit (RMMRU)
Supported by PROKAS, British Council and SDC
Venue: Hotel Bengal Blueberry, Dhaka

 
Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) and Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) have jointly conducted a capacity building training on “Arbitration / Mediation in Migration Services for DEMO and BMET”. 26 BMET Arbitration Officers of BMET and DEMO from 12 districts joined the training. The day-long session was organised at Hotel Bengal Blueberry on August 28, 2021 (Saturday) with the support of PROKAS and SDC. It aims to improve DEMO and BMET officials' knowledge and skills in arbitration and mediation in order to provide legal services to affected migrants through designing interactive sessions on BMET complaint management arbitration practices, RMMRU migration mediation, and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) etc.

This workshop was chaired by Mr Md. Saiful Islam, Director (Senior District and Sessions Judge), National Legal Aid Services Organisation (NLASO). Mr Md. Shahidul Alam, NDC, Director General, BMET graced the event as the Chief Guest as well as Mr. Mir Khairul Alam, Joint Secretary (Administration and Training), BMET as special guests. Dr. C.R Abrar Professor Executive Director, RMMRU, moderated the first session of the training.

Ms. Marina Sultana led the sessions on migration mediation by screening a documentary about how RMMRU uses the Grievance Management System to resolve migration-related disputes through mediation. The documentary shows the process of how the committees work from their own positions to constitute mediation, the process of mediation, amicable solutions taken by the committee etc. On the other hand, Mr. Masud Rana, Senior Statistics officer, BMET and Johora Monsor, Deputy Director (Employment) presented on the arbitration system of BMET using mock Salish practices/role play sessions engaging the participants.

Being the Chief Guest, Mr. Md. Shahidul Alam, NDC, said, "This workshop will help to provide services to the affected migrants by enhancing the skills of the concerned officials of BMET and DEMO in arbitration/mediation as well as speed up the decentralisation of BMET's arbitration activities." He instructed the concerned officials to take the required actions as soon as possible and to effectuate the decentralization of arbitration proceedings through these DEMO officers.

The Chair of the Programme Mr. Md. Saiful Islam said that “NLASO is always ready to provide services to the distressed and helpless migrants. He assured to help migrants through RMMRU to get legal services as well as commended RMMRU for taking such initiative”

Dissemination workshop on ‘Reintegration of the Returnee Migrants in context of COVID-19’.
Organised by RMMRU
26 August 2021
 

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) organised a virtual dissemination workshop on Reintegration of the Returnee Migrants in context of COVID-19.

The objective of the virtual dissemination workshop is to share the study finding which provide an in-depth look at the problems faced by both the returned migrants and the Probashi Kallyan Bank regarding the special reintegration loan. In this event, RMMRU also shared some traditional and non-traditional market-oriented business models for the returned migrants. 

Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair, RMMRU moderated the programme and highlighted RMMRU’s role behind the research initiatives. She called the research initiatives very time appropriating and highlighted the need of collaboration between the government and the CSOs as well as other stakeholders in the migration sector to eradicate the challenges in disbursing and availing the special reintegration loan. She added that the returned migrants must be given idea about business and entrepreneurship to be economically reintegrated.

Mr. Md. Zahidul Haque, MD, Probashi Kallyan Bank Chair of the first session shared that PKB is already working with Aghrani Bank and fulfilling the agent banking demands of the stakeholders. PKB is also welcoming the idea to consider increasing the grace period as well as payment deadline.  

Mr. Md. Shamsul Alam, DG, BMET, Chair of the second session emphasised on proper utilisation of the special reintegration loan besides proper disbursement. According to him, more projects need to be developed for the returned migrants to which they can invest the loan money. He highlighted the need of validation of TTC certificates in abroad institutionally and recognised globally to get better jobs in abroad.

Dr. Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, Chief Guest of the virtual dissemination programme offered appreciation to RMMRU for sharing affirmative narrative of migration by presenting the migrant’s positive experience with Probashi Kallyan Loan. He gave importance on the collaboration between all stakeholders also hopeful to use 400 crores taka of World Bank to reintegrate the returned migrants.

The consultation brought together more than 120 national and regional stakeholders including representatives of Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development, ministry and government organisation, development organisations, civil society organisations, the media and representative of MFA. Among others Mr. Shaikh Muhammad Refat Ali, Deputy Secretary, MoEWOE, Mr. Anindya Dutta, Programme Officer, Migration and Development, SDC, Mr. Sayeed Siddiqui, CEO, Cat’s Eye Bangladesh, Mr. Syed Saif, CEO, Lily, Dr. Sayema Haque Bidisha Research Director, SANEM, Ms. Shirin Lira, Sr. IBP Manager and Gender & Social Inclusion Adviser, PROKAS, British Council, Mr. Asif Munier, Migration Specialist and were participated in the event as panel discussants.  Mr. Gerry Fox, Team Leader, British Council as the Special Guests of the online programme. The event was also graced with number of government officials specially from Probashi Kallyan Bank. 

Health and Life Skill Training for Female Migrants
Date: 25th and 26th August 2021
Organised by: Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit (RMMRU)
Supported by PROKAS, British Council and SDC
Venue: Green House Food Zone, Tangail
 
RMMRU organised two days long Health and Life Skill training on 25th and 26th August 2021 at GreenHouse Food Zone, Tangail, Bangladesh. This training aims to provide orientation to the aspirant female migrants and help them to gain knowledge and skills in all aspects of their migration journey. 60 aspirant female migrants joined the training along with Mr. Amit Sarkar, Assistant Director, DEMO Office, Tangail, and Mr. Md. Kamruzzaman, Senior Officer, Probashi Kollayan Bank Tangail. Ms. Nazam Akhter, the Field Coordinator, conducted this successful health and life skill training.

The session plan of the training includes skills for the female migrant workers, addressing the mitigation strategies of female migrant’s health risks, rights of female migrants as well as reintegration of them. Receiving the training female workers will be more confident and responsible in their migration journey.
Mr. Amit Sarker, DEMO Tangail acknowledges that health and life skill training will maximize the benefit of female migrants in destination countries

Mr. Kamruzzaman said that the skill of female migrant workers has been increasing day by day. I hope female migrants will go abroad receiving training to know how to increase their confidence, how to mitigate the challenges of physical and mental health, how to ensure their personal safety etc.

Ms. Sajeda, female participants said that” through this training, I learned how to adapt with strangers in the destination country”

 Orientation on Gender-Based Violence
Date: 23rd and 24th August 2021
Organised by: Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit (RMMRU)
Supported by PROKAS, British Council
Venue: Green House Food Zone, Tangail
 
RMMRU organised two days long capacity building training on Orientation on Gender-Based Violence” on 23rd and 24th August 2021 at March 2021 at GreenHouse Food Zone, Tangail, Bangladesh. The goal of the training is to develop an understanding of the concept of GMC members on gender, teach participants the differences between gender and sex, GBV, VAW etc . 65 GMC members from Paikora, Elenga, Gala and Silimpur Union participated in the training. Mst. Maryam Khatun, Senior Assistant Commissioner, Tangail DC Office graced the training as the Chief Guest. Besides, Mr Satendra Chandra Paul, District Senior Information Officer, Mr Md. Rashedul Islam, Principal, Tangail TTC, Mr. Amit Sarkar, Assistant Director, DEMO Office, Tangail, and Mr. Md. Kamruzzaman, Senior Officer, Expatriate Welfare Bank, Tangail were also present as guests.

Through interactive sessions such as group work, open discussions, sharing experiences, GMC members became more conscious of this issue and developed knowledge on gender-based violence. They become more confident, responsible for implementing grassroots activities using gender lenses.

As the Chief Guest of the Training, Ms Maryam stated “I am glad to note that RMMRU actively encourages female involvement in all of its programs. Participating in any program enhances my motivation to help others and stand up for those who are needy.” She compelled to share the learning of the training at the district-level NGO coordination meeting.” She also guarantees that she will assist at any work of RMMRU to help the migrant workers.
National Launch of the RMMRU-MFA study on
Addressing Systemic Challenges of Wage Theft: Bangladesh COVID-19 Returnees from the Gulf States
Organised by BCSM-RMMRU
11 August 2021
 

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, tens of thousands of workers had to return to Bangladesh empty handed without their earned wages and not securing justice. No document was provided to them by their employers through which they can lodge claims for compensation. A significant amount of those workers faced situations of debt bondage.

As part of the global campaign Justice for Wage Theft, Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) has conducted a study on the experience of 1160 Bangladeshi migrant workers from six Gulf states who endured wage theft and returned after February 2020. Recently the highlights of this study were presented at a regional launching programme organised by the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA).

Under this backdrop, Bangladesh Civil Society for Migrants (BCSM) and RMMRU in collaboration with MFA and PROKAS, organised an online national launch event of the study titled Addressing Systemic Challenges of Wage Theft: Bangladesh COVID-19 Returnees from the Gulf States

The objective of this launch event was to highlight the findings of the study on wage theft and issues of access to justice experienced by migrant workers from Bangladesh, during the COVID-19 pandemic and providing recommendations based on the findings.

Joanna Yu, Programme Assistant, MFA said, “Wage theft is a long-standing issue, which is highlighted during the pandemic, and it has become a global issue.” According to Ms. Yu, It is evident that migrants are unwilling to file complaints due to their fear of being blacklisted in the country of destination which will affect the remigration. She also noted that lack of information also plays crucial role in it. Most of the migrants are unaware about the complaint mechanism. “Countries of Origins must come together to raise this issue nationally and globally and participate the campaign to get the migrants’ due wages” said Ms. Yu.  

Dr. Nurul Islam, Former Director of BMET believes the issue of wage theft has come to light again due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to prevent wage theft Dr. Islam put forward four proposals: 1) to establish a platform/commission which will work to retrieve the lost wages 2) importance has to be given in preserving important documents of migrant workers. 3) to discuss the matter with importance in the Joint Technical Committee. 4) to put forward strong demands in this regard through regional forums.

Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, former secretary general of BAIRA thinks a desk should be established for the workers who have returned and are victims of wage theft. This desk will collect detailed information on the returned migrants. Mr. Noman also said that, in order to create inter-ministerial connection, a cell can be created so that the migration issues can be resolved. 

Shirin Lira, Sr. IBP Manager and Gender & Inclusion Adviser, PROKAS, British Council said “if we work on the issue of wage theft at the national, regional and international levels starting from now, maybe in the future we will be able to prevent wage theft.”Ms. Lira believes the issue of wage theft has to be included in the migration cycle so that the migrants can be aware about it.  

Migration expert Asif Munier thinks the issue of wage theft needs to be discussed in the international arena and international organisations can play a role in retrieving the lost wages. 

The national launch brought together more than 70 participants including government officials, representatives of civil society organisations, NGO/INGOs and media. It gathered wide coverage on a total of 21 English and Bangla newspapers and TV channels. Moreover, an editorial piece was published on the The Daily Star which expressed strong support for the demand put forward by experts at the programme, urging the government to address migrant workers' wage theft claims at regional forums during bilateral meetings with host countries, and via international agencies working on migration. Links to the media coverage of the programme have been attached below.  

South Asian Perspectives on Wage Theft and Access to Justice: A Virtual Launch of Wage Theft studies in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal
Organised by: MFA with RMMRU-IIMAD-SARTUC
18 July 2021
Online on Zoom
 
As part of the month-long commemoration of the one-year anniversary of The Justice for Wage Theft campaign, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), together with Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) Bangladesh, The International Institute of Migration and Development (IIMAD) India, and the South Asia Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC) Nepal, organised the webinar "South Asian Perspectives on Wage Theft and Access to Justice: A Virtual Launch of Wage Theft studies in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal" on 18 July 2021. The launch highlighted findings from the policy briefs/studies written and conducted by national partners, RMMRU, IIMAD, and SARTUC, highlighting wage theft and issues of access to justice experienced by migrant workers from Bangladesh, India, and Nepal during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
RMMRU presented outcomes of its policy brief, 'Addressing systemic challenges of wage theft: Bangladeshi Covid returnees from the Gulf', during the launch. “States became complicit in overseeing procedures where tens of thousands of workers were returned without getting their earned wages and not securing justice”, said Dr. C R Abrar, Executive Director, RMMRU. The study found that, there was little evidence of returnee migrants taking complaints of non-compliance of contract and other wrong doings of the employers with any authority. It also showed that an overwhelming number did not know the procedure for re-claiming their due wages and other entitlements. According to Dr. Abrar, all possible action should be taken using different forums both national and regional to settle the due wages. Regarding registration of migrant workers Mr. Andalib Elias, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “sometimes the migrant workers are hesitant to register themselves with the missions. This could be due to the fact that they may not be well aware of their rights as Bangladeshis”. Shaikh Muhammad Refat Ali, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment said, “the sample size of the research is very much representative”.” Mr. Ali suggested that insurance policy for the migrant workers can be introduced by the destination countries, so in case of their abrupt return; they can be compensated from that insurance.

Dr. S Irudaya Rajan, Founder Chairman, IIMAD, India presented their study on Indian migrant workers who had to return empty handed during Covid-19 pandemic. He also presented the steps taken for migrants by the Indian government during the pandemic. Dr. Rajan said “Absence of access to legal service upon return is one of the major issues for returned migrants”.

Sadikshya Bhattaray on behalf of SARTUC, Nepal, suggested documenting the grievances of the migrant workers. Trade unions should mobilise their network at the provincial and local levels to collect information about returnee migrant workers. Ms. Bhattaray said. She also recommended that access to information by migrant workers needs to be improved.

The programme aimed to push for an international justice mechanism that will address the grievances of migrant workers related to wage theft justly and without delay. A total of more than 80 participants attended the launching event including government officials, journalists, and members of civil society organisations both from national and regional level.

Dissemination Workshop on Draft ADR Rules under the Overseas Employment and Migrants Act, 2013 to Address Migration Related Disputes
Organised by – RMMRU.
Supported by – PROKAS, British Council.
June 23, 2021
Hotel InterContinental Dhaka

On June 23, 2021, Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) organised a dissemination workshop on draft ADR Rules under the Overseas Employment and Migrants Act, 2013 at Hotel InterContinental Dhaka. RMMRU has developed a draft ADR Rules to ensure access to justice for the vulnerable migrants at grassroots level based on section 41(4) and 47 of the Act of 2013. The aim of the workshop was to share the draft Rules with the government, policymakers, civil society, relevant stakeholders, NGOs/INGOs. The dissemination workshop was supported by PROKAS, British Council.

Guests of Honour of the workshop were Md. Saiful Islam, Senior District & Sessions Judge, Director, NLASO and Md. Shahidul Alam (ndc), Director General, BMET. Special Guests of the programme included Md. Rafiqul Hasan, Joint Secretary, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Advocate Salma Ali, President, BNWLA.

Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, Hon’ble MP, and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, graced the event as the Chief Guest and Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary, Hon’ble MP, and Chair of the Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development, Bangladesh, chaired the workshop. The event brought together a total of 40 relevant stakeholders including higher officials and representatives from government departments, international development organisations, members of Civil Society, national and international organisations, and journalists. Dr. C R Abrar, Executive Director, RMMRU provided the welcome remarks. A video documentary titled, ‘Breaking the impunity of Perpetrators- Local Level Mediation against Migration Fraud’ was screened at the workshop.

Advocate Tajul Islam presented the draft ADR Rules and the Panel discussants shared their opinions and feedbacks on the draft document presented. The guests also focused on the importance of the draft Rules in light of migration dispute resolution.

Guest of Honour, Director of National Legal Aid and Services Organization (NLASO), Md. Saiful Islam said, “I believe the ADR Rules that RMMRU has developed is excellent! More studies can be conducted for the development of a complete set of Rules. I want to commend RMMRU for taking the initiative”

Director General of Bureau of manpower, employment and training, Md. Shahidul Alam (NDC) said, “the workshop has made me more interested in the matter of ADR. I think our existing laws and Rules can be amended as well to contain disputes that can be resolved through mediation. If required, BMET will provide support.”

Special Guest Md. Rafiqul Hasan, Joint Secretary, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs suggested “the implementation of the final decision given through Salish has to be made compulsory; otherwise there will be no use of it.”

Advocate Salma Ali, President, BNWLA said “I believe mediation in the grassroots level is of much importance and there needs to be a monitoring mechanism in order for the salish to be more effective. I thank RMMRU and PROKAS for bringing this issue up”

“As a primary draft, it is a good initiative by RMMRU. There are lots of limitations in the migration sector. Regardless of all shortcomings, it is still the most important pillar of our economy. I recommend introducing the arbitration process in Upazila level. UNO’s may be empowered as arbitrator in migration related disputes”, mentioned Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, MP in his speech.

The Chair of the programme, Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary, MP said, “There is a complexity in the Overseas Employment and Migrants Act in using the word ‘Salish’ as ‘Arbitration’, because there is no scope to form Salish Tribunal under Arbitration Act in resolving migration related disputes. In that case, an amendment is needed in the Act of 2013”. He also emphasised on Judicialisation of ADR process.

Dr. C R Abrar in the vote of thanks said “all the stakeholders need to be involved in the process of developing these Rules. We can move it forward based on their opinions. Many migrant workers are facing problems as they are not able to fulfill their dreams of migration. “How can they get redress, needs to be identified and today’s programme is all about it.” mentioned Dr. Abrar.

The programme was moderated by Shirin Lira, Senior IBP Manager and Gender & Social Inclusion Adviser, PROKAS, British Council. She brought the burning questions related to ADR and Local mediation through her moderation and addressed guests’ valuable opinions and comments on the initiative and the draft ADR Rule in the ‘Open Floor’ session. For further follow up, suggestion of forming a working committee of 5 members has been given which will have CSO representative, BMET and MoEWOE officials and legal experts so that the draft ADR Rules can be developed more strongly and in a more institutionalised manner.

Inception workshop for the preparation of Action Plan for the implementation of National Strategy on Internal Displacement
Organised by: MoDMR
Supported by: RMMRU and PROKAS
Date: 23 June 2021
Venue: Hotel InterContinental

In February 2021, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) adopted a National Strategy on Internal Displacement Management. In April, the Ministry has initiated a process of Development of an Action Plan to implement the strategy. Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) drafted this National Strategy by collaborating with different ministries, civil society organisations under the leadership of MoDMR. In April, the Ministry has formed a five-member working group to steer through the preparation of the action plan. Additional Secretary, Mr. Ranjit Kumar Sen is the Convener of the working group and Tasneem Siddiqui of RMMRU is the Member Secretary. On 23rd June 2021, MoDMR launched the Inception Workshop for the preparation of an Action Plan at the Hotel InterContinental.

Dr. Md. Enamur Rahman, MP, Hon’ble State Minister, MoDMR graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and Mr. Md. Mohsin, Secretary of the Ministry chaired the programme. There was present Mr. Md. Atiqul Huq, DG of the Department of Disaster Management; Mr. Md. Feroz Salah Uddin, Secretary General, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society; Mr Achala Navaratne, Country Representative IFRC Bangladesh and All the relevant ministries have participated in the workshop. Related bilateral and multilateral development partners and CSOs also took part in the workshop and expressed their commitment to pursue the action plan.

RMMRU is honoured to be part of such an important process that would help the climate and disaster-induced internal migrants. RMMRU is managing this project with the support of the PROKAS Programme of the British Council.
 
Workshop proceedings: Click here to read the report
Online Launching Ceremony of the Strengthened and Informative Migration Systems (SIMS) Project at Cumilla District
Date: 17th June, 2021
Organised by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit organised the launching ceremony of the Strengthened and Informative Migration Systems (SIMS) project on 17th June, 2021 from 11.30am to 1pm (Dhaka time) via Zoom. 115 participants from relevant Govt. offices, NGOs, civil society organisations, media and migrant workers attended the event. The objectives of this event were to introduce the project with relevant stakeholders, inform them about the project activities and informing key stakeholders with their roles in the project activity to ensure safer and informative migration.

Dr. C R Abrar, Executive Director, RMMRU gave the welcome speech and highlighted some of the significant contribution RMMRU has had over the decades. Ms. Katrin Rosenberg, Team Leader, SIMS Project, Helvetas introduced the SIMS and mentioned its goals, objectives and and scope of collaboration with key stakeholders. Mr. Anindya Datta from SDC expressed his expectation about support from relevant actors in this project to make positive changes in the lives of migrant workers and their families. Adv. H M Fazle Jahid, Project Manager, RMMRU presented the project details through a power point presentation. He addressed component-wise project activities (i.e., safe migration, access to justice and financial literacy). Representatives from CCDA, OKUP, BNWLA presented brief overview of the respective organisations who are also working in the same district. At the open discussion session Mr. Debabrata Ghosh, AD-DEMO stated about the migration scenario of Cumilla and ensured support and collaboration that may improve the quality of lives of migrant workers. Acting Principle of TTC, Cumilla, UNOs from Cumilla Sadar South, one migrant worker and a MRPC member, media representative expressed their thoughts, experiences and expectations from this project.
Online-Launching-Ceremony-SIMS
Mohammed Shahadat Hossain, ADC General, Cumilla and the Chief Guest of the event wished the SIMS project every success. He also highlighted some on-going government support and planned initiatives of which SIMS can play an important role.

Report on Capacity Building Training for Social Mobilizers
Date: 13-16 June 2021
Organized by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit
Supported by: Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation

RMMRU organised a 4-days capacity building training for Social Mobilizers of SIMS project from 13th to 16th April 2021 at Brac Learning Center, Cumilla. The training as organised to develop knowledge on migration issues, project activities and work strategies and disseminate project target and plan. A total number of 15 social mobilizers (5 female and 10 male) from 5 upazilas (25 unions) participated the training. Dr. C R Abrar, Executive Director of RMMRU inaugurated the training online and provided guidance to all participants.The project manager of SIMS PO-Safe Migration discussed about the RMMRU and CCDA. District Coordinator, PO-A2I, PO-Safe Migration and one Upazila Coordinator conducted the different sessions divided in 4 days and PO-A2J, PO-FinLit and Monitoring Officer co-facilitated. The project manager and District Coordinator moderated the total training event.

Through this training the social mobilizers the capacity got enhanced though discussion on the migration, types of migration, risks of migration and mitigating ways, key stakeholders of the migration sector. The rights of migrant workers, types of fraud, legal aid support, ADR in the local level, role of GMC was also discussed under access to justice component. Adding to that, financial literacy, importance and benefits of financial literacy, remittance management and its uses, investment and investment risk and other factors are discussed in detail. MEAL system referral linkage, communication & networking, develop project plans, targets were clarified to the participants.

Ms. Marina Sultana, Programme Director, RMMRU concluded the 4-days training and advised everyone to implement the lessons learned from the training at the field level.

Report on SafeStep Mobile Application Launching Event
Jointly Organised by: RMMRU and Winrock International
Date: June 10, 2021
Venue: Online on Zoom 

RMMRU and Winrock International jointly organised a virtual launching event of SafeStep Mobile application on June 10, 2021, from 3:00 pm-4:30 pm (Dhaka time) on Zoom. This event aims to introduce the final version of the SafeStep application, share key features of the application with stakeholders, and identify scope and opportunities for collaboration to promote the application among migrant workers of Bangladesh and inform the migrant community to reduce the migration vulnerabilities present in the migration system. 

The programme was moderated by Md. Obaidul Haque, Senior Fellow, RMMRU, and the Associate professor, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka. Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary, Hon’ble MP, and Chair of the Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development, Bangladesh, graced the event as the Chief Guest and Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Full Time Member, the National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh, chaired the programme. Ms. Sung In Marshal, Associate Director, ELEVATE Hong Kong Holdings Limited provided the welcome remarks. The event brought together a total of 80 higher officials and representatives from government departments, international development organisations, UN agencies, migrant forums, national NGOs, recruiting agencies, and journalists.

Barrister Shamim Haider Patwary, MP, formally inaugurated the SafeStep application and said, “This is the real milestone in the migration sector. We have to make it popular. It is a modern approach and landmark in the migration justice system. This App should link with a website for serving more information. We have to work together to make it inclusive”.

As a representative of the recruiting agencies, Shamim Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, Former Secretary-General, BAIRA said “Embassies need to be aware of the app and this app must have acceptance in destination countries, only then this programme will be fruitful. Digitalisation in the entire migration sector will reduce many problems that is why the integrated initiative is required to ensure migrants rights

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Specialist Dr. Nurul Islam, said “Easy access, more trails and massive dissemination of the application can be an effective way to reach the doorstep of the migrant community”

Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Full-time Member, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said, “This is a complete App which will be a very influential tool in the pre-departure stage in the migration system. In the post-departure period, the responsibility goes to the embassies, agencies, and the governments. Proper coordination between embassies, employers, agencies, and governments are necessary to reduce the rate of harassment”.  

The country representative of Winrock International, Mr. Mesbahul Alam, concluded the event with a vote of thanks. 


Training on Pre-assessment of KII & FGD for Developing Business Models for Returned Migrants
Venue: NGO Forum Training Center, Tangail
Date: June 8, 2021
 
Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) had conducted an assessment on innovative, climate friendly business model that will support the returned migrants to set up local business for their income generation. RMMRU initiated a study a thorough mapping of stakeholders to analyse the business model to establish an investment friendly environment for the returned migrants in the Nagbari Union under Tangail district.The training was organised at NGO Forum Training Center, Tangail on June 8th, 2021 where 13 participants attended. At the end of the training, operationalising plan and distribution of work plan for 4 team were completed under the supervision of Ms. Marina Sultana, Director Programme, RMMRU. Mahamudol Haque Rocky (Research Coordinator), RMMRU distributed the plans among 4 teams. The questionnaires were discussed in details with the enumerators and they were trained on the interview approaches. The training also included group works, role plays and interactive sessions.

At the end of the training, a detail plan to conduct KII and FGD was drawn out and 24 KIIs and 36 FGDs were distributed among 4 teams. The enumerators were provided transcripts of the FGDs and KIIs and time management of the assessment.

Challenges:
1. Ensuring enumerator understands of a huge questionnaire in short time.
2. Planning of time and place of FGD and KII in COVID-19 situation.
3. Time limitations to properly meet and get time for sessions from key informants (they stated that they are too busy).
4. Some of the informants were not interested in showcasing their business documentations (profits, loss, etc.)
5. Some returned migrants were not interested to take loan from Probashi Kallyan Bank.
6. Lack of business skill.
7. Lack of knowledge on digital platforms.

Achievements:
1. Motivated the informants to learn new information on business development.
2. Built capacity of the enumerators on preparing transcripts and communication with local people.
3. Learned systematic approach to gather overall data of income and expenditure as well as to form a usable record of the business.
4. Knowledge delivery of the returned migrants with proper information and ideas of how to take loans from PKB and other banks.
5. Motivated them for digitalizing their business for better profit margins.
 
The training was supported by British Council.
International Conference on Reintegration of Returnee Migrants affected by COVID-19
Pandemic
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.