Past Events 2019

Press Conference: The Patterns and Trends of Labour Migration from Bangladesh in 2019: Achievements and Challenges
Organized by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
Date and Time: Wednesday, 29 December 2019 at 11 am
Venue: VIP Lounge, National Press Club, Dhaka
Supported by: ManusherJonno Foundation (MJF)
RMMRU organized a press conference to disseminate Annual Migration Trends Report on 29 December 2019 at the VIP Lounge, National Press Club, Dhaka. The conference was chaired by Dr. Shahdeen Malik, Advocate, Bangladesh Supreme Court and Chair of RMMRU. Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair, RMMRU and Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Dhaka made a presentation on the report. The report contained seven sections: labour migration from Bangladesh 2019, reflection on important issues, service providing agencies, Bangladesh in international arena, civil society initiative, new knowledge on migration and recommendations.

Unveiling the report Dr. Siddiqui said that up to November 2019 a total of 6,04,060 Bangladeshi workers migrated to the Gulf, South East Asia and other destination countries. If this trend continues, there will be a drop in migration rate of 10% this year from last year. In spite of high rate of return of female migrants this year, there has been an overall increase in migration of women by 4.52% over 2018 rate. Last year (2018) a total of US$15.64 billion was received as remittances, which by the end of 2019 is expected to be increased by 17.05% (to around 18.19 billion). The increase in remittance flow to an extent has been due to government initiative to offer 2% incentive on remittances sent through the banking channel. Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui expressed concern about India’s initiatives regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act and the NRC. She mentioned that although the Indian authorities have assured Bangladesh that there will be no deportation press reports inform that push in of people from India have already begun.

Emphasizing on skilled migration Advocate Shahdeen Malik said that we need to change the curriculum of our education system as it is not supportive to produce skilled human resource.

Nearly 85 journalists from different electronic and print media were present at the press conference. And 13 electronic and more than 15 media print media covered the news.

Below please find the links to the coverage of the press conference.

International Migrants Day
Participated by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
Date: Tuesday, 18 December 2019 and Wednesday, 19 December 2019
Venue: Bangabandhu International Convention Center (BICC)
Supported by: Manusher Janno Foundation (MJF)
Like other years RMMRU celebrated International Migrants’ Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre with the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, civil society organizations and other migration stakeholders. MoEWOE observed this day with great enthusiasm to protect rights of the migrants in presence of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The slogan for this year was “দক্ষ হয়ে বিদেশ গেলে - অর্থ সন্মান দুই-ই মেলে” (If you go abroad skilled, you get both money and respect’.

RMMRU joined in the rally organised by the MoEWOE. Among others BMET, PKB, WEWB, BAIRA and variou service providing institutions and other stakeholders joined the rally on the first day and other programmes on the second day. On the second day the programme was divided into various segments: cultural programmes stall display, award-giving ceremony etc. After the inaugural sessionthe prime minister of Bangladesh visited different stalls. RMMRU took a stall at BICC which was decorated with the posters of migrant workers. A set of publications like books, policy briefs, video documentations on migration and documents on Rohingyas were displayed in the stall. Minister Mr. Imran Ahmad, MP, Secretary Mr. Salim Reza of Ministry of Expatriate’s Welfare and Overseas Employment along with other senior officials visited RMMRU Stall. Appreciating RMMRU’s activities in protecting migrants Mr. Imran Ahmed asked RMMRU to provide suggestions to develop migration sector.

Protecting Bangladeshi Migrants: Parliamentarian-Civil Society Dialogue
Date: 26.11.19
Place: Xinxian Restaurant, Dhanmondi
Organized by: Bangladesh Civil Society for Migration
Bangladesh Civil Society for Migration (BCSM) organised a dialogue titled ‘Protecting Bangladeshi Migrants: Parliamentarian-Civil Society Dialogue’ with Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development to discuss the scope of collaboration with Caucus and set out a road map to achieve SDG and GCM through upholding migrants’ rights.

C R Abrar, Chair of BCSM formally introduced BCSM to the Parliamentarian Caucus and Co-Chair; Syed Saiful Haque highlighted the background of the platform. Afterwards, Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui presented a power point presentation on major policy engagement of this platform.

Participants from ASK, BASUG, BRAC, BOMSA, IMA Research Foundation, BCWWF, MJF, INAFI, YPSA, BASTOB, Rights Jessore, BOAF, WARBE DF and RMMRU along with individual members of BCSM were present in the dialogue and denoted their opinion about skilled migration, recruitment in Malaysia and new job markets issues in front of the Caucus.

Mr. Gerry Fox, Team Leader, Prokas expected the collaboration would help achieve SDG and GCM. Mr. Israfil Alam, honourable Member of Parliament and Chair of Parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development, expressed his gratitude to BCSM for its policy engagement on behalf of civil society. Pointing out some current issues such as high migration cost and vulnerability of female migrants in KSA, he signified the scope of work in collaboration with BCSM.
Workshop for adoption of the revised draft
National Strategy on the Management of Disaster and Climate Induced Internal Displacement
Date: 1st October 2019
Venue: BRAC Centre Inn, Mohakhali, Dhaka
Organized by: RMMRU in collaboration with BCAS, ICCCAD, C3ER and RWI
Supported by: PROKAS Project, British Council and UKaid
A national level advocacy workshop for adoption of the revised draft National Strategy on the Management of Disaster and Climate Induced Internal Displacement held on 1st October 2019 at BRAC Centre Inn, Mohakhali, Dhaka. The workshop aims to secure input on the revised strategy document from the wider civil society and advocate for adoption of the draft national strategy by the Ministry. At the concluding session of programme, Dr. Enamur Rahman, MP, Hon’ble State Minister, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR), was present as the Chief Guest and Mr. Md Shah Kamal, Senior Secretary, MoDMR and Ms. Judith Herbertson, Country Representative of DFID Bangladesh was present as Special Guests. The workshop was chaired by Dr. Q K Ahamad, Chairman, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation
Training workshop on using photo voice for engagement with migrant populations in cities
Date: 19th and 20th August 2019
Venue: The Peninsula Hotel, Chattogram
Organized by: RMMRU, CDA and University of Exeter
Supported by: Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods at the University of Glasgow.
Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), Chattogram Development Authority (CDA) and University of Exeter jointly organized a two-day training workshop on Using photovoice for engagement with migrant populations in cities, from 19th to 20th August 2019 at The Peninsula Hotel in Chattogram. The training workshop is organized following a successful research project with migrants and city planners in Chattogram, carried out by the University of Exeter and the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) between 2017 and 2019. The research, titled Safe and Sustainable Cities: Migration, Security and Wellbeing, used photovoice to facilitate engagement between migrants and city planners. The training workshop specifically designed for urban planning and development professionals and provided training on how to engage with communities using the photovoice method. The workshop is intended as a two-way learning process between urban planners and researchers from RMMRU, CDA, Chattogram City Corporation and University of Exeter.
Conference on “Transforming Challenges of Migration into Opportunity: Call for declaration of 2021-2030 as the Decade of Migration in Bangladesh”
Venue: BRAC Center Inn, Dhaka
Date: 27thand 28th July 2019
Organized by RMMRU
RMMRU organised an international conference on Transforming Challenges of Migration into Opportunities: Call for Declaration of 2021-2030 as the Decade of Migration on 27-28 July 2019 at BRAC Center Inn, Dhaka. The conference had two-fold aims (a) identify challenges of migration and the ways to turn those into opportunities (b) assess the relevance of the demand for declaration of a migration decade.

The conference was carried out using a participatory approach. A moderator, two to three panelists, one migrant, and a session chair conducted each session. The moderators presented the issues and then requested each panelist to elaborate on the major challenges encountered by the concerned issue. Major issues addressed during the conference include protection of migrant workers, migrants vulnerability to radicalization, climate change-induced migration, ethical recruitment, skills development and utilization, decentralization of migration governance, social and economic costs of migration, remittance, re-integration of returnee migrants, etc. Policymakers, academics, activists, migrants and international migration experts participated in the event.

Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Expatriates ' Welfare and Overseas Employment Dr. Ahmed Munirus Saleheen as Chair of the Conference's Inaugural Session said “Migration is now considered as an asset. When we considered about the decade, we have to consider the formation.” He emphasized holistic synchronization, mentioning that the government is active in devising some methods in bringing the involvement of middleman within certain accountability framework.

Ms. Laetitia Weibel Roberts, Chief Technical Advisor, Migration Policy for Decent Work for Migrant workers Project ILO, as a special guest of the inaugural session mentioned that, for country of destination, labor migration contribute to economic growth through the provision of labor skills and ideas and for country of origin, the movement of women and men across the border reduce underemployment pressure and increase remittances.

Mr. Gerry Fox, Team Leader, PROKAS, British Council said that the collaboration of NGOs, civil society and Government can create a useful example to achieve a great result in this regard. Through this conference, it is possible to bring Government, Private sector and civil society together. Thus, we can identify the gaps in the migration system and mitigate them.

Ms. Judith Herbertson, Country representative, DFID as Special Guest said that the Government of Bangladesh recognizes the significance of migrant workers in the economy and is assembling positive transformation into a middle-income country and this initiative is highly appreciable.
Shirin Akhter, MP and parliamentarian caucus on migration and development, mentioned that she will take essential initiative to establish the topic of the conference to the government and must not be neglected to be raised in the parliament too so that the initiative of RMMRU for the declaration of 2021-2030 as the Decade of Migration in Bangladesh does not stay limited within the whelm of this conference.

Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, Former Advisor to the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh and Chairman, Power and Participation Research Centre, Dhaka strongly plead to let ‘Decade of Migration in Bangladesh’ be declared ‘the Decade of migration and migrants’ because would me putting the focus on the process hence the focus on the people.

Mr. Piyasiri Wickramasekara, a migration think tank from Sri Lanka along with two other international migration experts from Singapore and Malaysia moderated sessions and shared their valuable insights. A team of parliamentarians from the Philippines and Nepal shared their wealth of knowledge and ideas that added particular importance to the event.

The major output of the conference will be a comprehensive policy document for advocacy in favor of the declaration of a migration decade with high-level officials. Intermediate outcome will be the development of an Action Plan for engaging with policymakers and stakeholders for achieving the goal. The outcome envisaged is declaration of a Migration Decade by the government. The expected impact of the action will be, ‘Migrants rights protected, their welfare promoted and national development augmented’.

National Dissemination Workshop on Safe and Sustainable Cities: Human securities, Migration and Well-being
Date: 13th March 2019, Wednesday
Venue: CIRDAP International Conference Centre, Topkhana Road, Dhaka
Organized by: RMMRU, University of Exeter, UK and ICCCAD
Supported by: Economic Social Research Council and DFID
National Dissemination Workshop on Safe and Sustainable Cities: Human securities, Migration and Well-being held on 13th March 2019 at CIRDAP International Conference Centre. The research seeks to explore ways of accommodating human security needs of climate change induced internal migrants for the creation of sustainable cities in line with SDG 11. The keynote address was given by Professor Neil Adger, of University of Exeter, UK. There were present policy makers, architects, city planners, academia, and the representative from NGOs in the workshop. At the inaugural session, Dr Md. Enamur Rahman, MP, Hon’ble State Minister, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, was present as the Chief Guest and Mr M. A. Mannan, MP, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Planning has graced the programme as the Chief Guest at the concluding session. The programme was chaired by Prof. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair, RMMRU.
Study Findings Dissemination Workshop on Social Cost of Migration on Left-Behind Migrant Spouses and Children in Bangladesh
Date: 27th February 2019, Wednesday
Venue: CIRDAP International Conference Centre, (Dr Cecep Effendi Conference Hall), Topkhana Road, Dhaka
Organised by: RMMRU
Supported by: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
A dissemination workshop was organised by Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) on 27th February 2019 at CIRDAP International Conference Centre for sharing the study findings on Social Cost of Migration on Left-Behind Migrant Spouses and Children in Bangladesh. The objective of the research is to generate knowledge on the impact of internal and international migration on left behind family members, specifically the left behind children and spouses. The study also aims to help policymakers integrate the interest of left behind families in national planning as well as ensuring benefits of Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 to the members of migrant households. At the beginning of the workshop, Prof. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair, RMMRU presented the key findings of the study in front of policymakers, scholars, academia, the representatives of NGOs and the media. At the inaugural session, Mr. Md. Shahriar Alam, MP, Hon’ble State Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs graced the programme as the Chief Guest and Mr. Israfil Alam, MP, Chair, Bangladesh Parliamentary Caucus on Migration and Development as Guest of Honour. Moreover, Ms. Suzanne Mueller, Senior Adviser, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Dr. Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment were present in the workshop as the Special Guests. The working session was divided into three parts in which the research findings on social costs of migration on left behind children, left behind wives and left behind husbands were presented sequentially and also discussed with the discussants as well as audiences.
Report on Validation Workshop on WEWB BOESL and Arbitration Model for BAIRA
19 February 2019
CIRDAP Auditorium
Organised by RMMRU
Supported by PROKAS, British Council

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) organised a Validation Workshop on Sharing the Draft Strategy Documents on WEWB, BOESL and Arbitration Model for BAIRA to take input from the government functionaries, policy makers and relevant stakeholders. The programme held on 19 February 2019 at CIRDAP Auditorium. Dr CR Abrar, Professor, Department of International Relations and Executive Director, RMMRU, DU moderated the programme.The programme was divided into 5 sessions which was chaired respectively by Mr Md. Salim Reza, Additional Secretary and DG, BMET, Mr Gazi Mohammad Julhash, NDC, Additional Secretary, Director General, WEWB, Mr Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, Secretary-General, BAIRA, Mr Maran Kumar Chakraborty, Managing Director (Additional Secretary), BOESL and Mr MD. Nazibul Islam, Additional Secretary, Monitoring and Enforcement Branch, MoEWOE. In this workshop researchers of RMMRU shared their finding on Documents on WEWB, BOESL and Arbitration Model for BAIRA in separate sessions where discussant were Mr Md. Shafiqul Islam, Joint Secretary, Director (Finance & Welfare) WEWB, Dr Nurul Islam, Director (Training Operations) BMET and Mr Asif Munier, Programme Officer, ILO, Mr D.M. Atiqur Rahman, Director (Employment) BMET, Mr Md. Aminur Rahaman, Deputy Secretary, MoEWOE and Ms Shahina Ferdousi, Deputy Secretary, MoEWOE. Besides Mr Gerry Fox, Team Leader, PROKAS, British Council was present as special guest

As chair of opening session Mr Md Salim Reza, DG BMET stated that
I thank RMMRU for conducting research on WEWB, BOESL and BAIRA. I am confident that the findings of these researches will be very much useful for policymaking. I am convinced to one of the recommendations of the presentation that is pre-decision training for migrants as well as we can also think about counselling for vulnerable migrant workers. Besides WEWB also can take another recommendation positively that is organizing fair for the families of migrants, arranging drawing competition for children of migrants etc in migrant prone districts.

Capacity Development Training of UDC Entrepreneurs and 333 call centre agents
Date: 4.2.2019 and 5.2.2019
Place: 333 call centre, Mascot plaza, Uttara, Dhaka
Jointly organized by a2i and RMMRU
Supported by: Fairer Labour Migration (FLM) Project, British Council

RMMRU organized a capacity development training for UDC Entrepreneurs and 333 call centre agents with Access to Information (a2i). This is a collaborative initiative between RMMRU and a2i under access to safe migration information services at door steps through 333 and digital centre project. Through this Capacity development training UDC representatives and 333 call center agents gathered knowledge about basic concept of Migration, safe Migration, steps and process of migration like visa processing, online registration, roles and responsibilities of recruiting agencies, fraudulence in migration sector, human trafficking, Online complain mechanism, remittance management process, stakeholders related to migration sector etc. one of BMET representative was present there to demonstrate government’s available digital services in migration to the participants.This initiative is designed under the Fairer Labour Migration project (FLM) of PROKAS programme, British Council to ensure safe migration and protection of migrants’ rights by providing easy access of migration information and services through UDC’s and 333 call centre.

a2i e-service specialist Mohammad Ashraful Amin and RMMRU Director, Programme Marina Sultana, among others, were present at the capacity development training.

Policy Dialogue on Incorporating SDG-11 into Chattogram City Development Plan
Organized by: RMMRU and University of Exeter, UK.
Date: Saturday, 26 January 2019
Venue: Nilgir, Radisson Blue Chattogram Bay View,
Supported by: Economic Social Research Council and DFID
Policy dialogue on Incorporating SDG-11 into Chattogram City Development Plan held on 26 January 2019 at Radisson Blue Chattogram Bay View. The aim of the dialogue was to share the findings of the research titled Safe and Sustainable cities: Human securities, migration, and well-being and receive valuable inputs from stakeholders in regards to incorporating SDG-11 (Safe and Sustainable Cities) into the Chattogram City Development Plan or Master Plan. Present were stakeholders from different areas of policy, industry, and academia, as well as city planners and CHT migrants of Chattogram. Mr. Abu Jahed Mohammed Nasir Uddin, Honorable Mayor, Chattogram City Corporation was present as chief guest. The programme was chaired by Mr. Mohammad Abdul Mannan, Divisional Commissioner, Chattogram.
Meeting with Journalist about Safe Migration
Date: 12 January 2019
Venue: Poshoshik Porshad, Tangail


RMMRU organized a meeting with Journalist on 12 January 2019 at Poshoshik Parshad Hall Room, Tangial. Marina Sultana Director Programme, RMMRU moderated the meeting. She introduces RMMRU briefly including its activities in national and grassroots level. In this meeting Mr. Masaraf Hossain Khan, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Tangail, Mr. Kazi Golam Ahad, District Information Officer were present as guest. The aim of meeting was to build up network and relations among grassroots level journalist. In this meeting main discussion points were ensuring the access of justice through mediation, ensuring services in a faster way, reducing the risk of fraudulence etc. The participants of the meeting were 50 including 28 journalists.

Objective of the Orientation
• Building network with local level media and sharing knowledge of migration sector
• Discuss about migration services provided by RMMRU and information about safe migration as well as fraudulence practices at grassroots level

Main discussion of the meeting
Mr. Masaraf Hossain Khan, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Tangail said that the activities of RMMRU have to inform to chairman of all Union Parisad so that they can inform migrants of their area. It will disseminate information of safe migration and migration mediation to migrant community.
‘I like the activities of RMMRU at grassroots level. Although RMMRU is conducting its activities specially mediation in 4 areas of Tangail only, it should cover more areas so that more people get the opportunity to take services from RMMRU’ said Mr. Kazi Golam Ahad, District Information Officer.
Mr.Jafar Ahmed, Secretary of Tangail Press Club appreciated RMMRU’s work and expects the good work not to confine within three unions only. Hemayet Hossain Himu added similar kinds of initiatives need to be taken in the migration prawn area like Mirzapur, Gopalpur, Shakhipur.

MoU Signing Ceremony with a2i
Date: 8.1.19
Place: a2i office, ICT Bhaban, ICT Tower, Agargaon, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar
Jointly organized by a2i and RMMRU
Supported by: Fairer Labour Migration (FLM) Project, British Council
RMMRU signed a MoU with Access to Information (a2i) under a project titled ‘Fairer Labour Migration’ of British Council. Dr. CR Abrar, Executive Director of RMMRU and a2i project Director Mustafizur Rahman signed the MoU on behalf of respective organizations at a ceremony held at the ICT Bhaban on 8 January 2019.

Under the project, awareness on safe migration would be enhanced through the dissemination of information, said Mr. Mustafizur Rahman. He also said migration information would be made publicly available through the participatory efforts of the migrants, service providing Union Digital Centre (UDC) entrepreneur and the agents of 333 number call centers. He expressed his high hope about the success of this initiative with RMMRU. “A lot needs to be done and this can be the beginning of a fruitful partnership”, he noted.

Dr. CR Abrar thanked a2i for taking the initiative to promote safe migration at the grassroots level and partnering with RMMRU. He highlighted the past useful collaboration of RMMRU with various government agencies and expressed the hope that the new venture would contribute to meaningful decentralizing of migration services and help establish good governance in the migration sector.

a2i e-service specialist Mohammad Ashraful Amin and RMMRU director for programme Marina Sultana, among others, were present at the MoU signing ceremony.