Past Events 2020

Press Conference: The Patterns and Trends of Labour Migration from Bangladesh in 2020: Achievements and Challenges
Organized by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
Date and Time: Wednesday, 29 December 2020 at 11 am
Venue: Online on Zoom
Supported by: Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) 

RMMRU organized a press conference to disseminate Annual Migration Trends Report on 29 December 2020 at an online press conference held on Zoom. Ms. Shaheen Anam, Executive Director, Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) graced the occasion as the Special Guest. The conference was chaired by Dr. Shahdeen Malik, Advocate, Bangladesh Supreme Court and Former 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 eight sections: Labour migration from Bangladesh 2020, important issues from labour migration sector, service providing agencies, international law and protection of migrants during Covid, civil society initiative, Rohingya refugees, new knowledge on migration and recommendations.

Unveiling the report Dr. Siddiqui said that about 0.7 million Bangladeshi workers went abroad with jobs last year. But this year only 183,682 could migrate for employment purposes. She added that usually workers start sending remittance money regularly to their families from the second year of their migration. So, the lower number of migration will have an impact on the rate of remittance next year, if any specific incident does not occur, she stated. Prof. Tasneem Siddiqui further said that migrant workers faced multi-dimensional challenges amid the Covid 19 pandemic. She reiterated that migrant workers faced job loss and food crisis while they were detained and deported forcibly.

Ms Shaheen Anam said “the workers who are returning to the home country, are coming back with numerous skills. So the proper utilization of such skilled workforce in an organized way needs to be kept in mind.” 

Dr. Shahdeen Malik emphasized on the need to make better use of the platform that is being created for Bangladesh in the labour migration sector.    Nearly 50 journalists from different electronic and print media were present at the press conference.

Build back better: RMMRU eSymposium series on Covid 19 and Migration
6th eSympsium: Streamlining Labour Recruitment Process through Regularisation of Middlemen
Date: 29-11-2020
Place: Online on Zoom
Organised by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) organised an eSymposium titled Streamlining Labour Recruitment Process through Regularisation of Middlemen on 29 November 2020. The objective of the event was to share the RMMRU developed model for regularisation of middlemen to ensure a transparent and accountable recruitment system, with the senior government functionaries, policymakers, civil society stakeholders, and development partners. Mr. Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, Hon’ble MP, Chair Parliamentary Standing Committee on MoEWOE graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. The eSymposium was chaired by Dr. Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, Hon’ble Secretary, MoEWOE. Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair, RMMRU presented the regularisation model before the guests.

Hon’ble Chief Guest Mr. Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, MP, Chair, Parliamentary Standing Committee on MoEWOE said “After taking money from the aspirant migrants, service has to be ensured. However, more discussion is required among the govt., civil society and NGOs.” The Chief Guest also thanked the members of RMMRU who had participated in creating the paper and also thanked Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui for her detailed presentation on this issue.

Special Guest Mr. Gerry Fox, Team Leader, PROKAS, British Council, said that he thinks every stakeholder is benefitting from the work RMMRU is doing. He also said that it is important for this regulation to move forward. He added “Despite this issue being worked on since 2001, there could be groups with vested interest which is preventing this topic to come into light.”

Mr. Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, Secretary General, BAIRA said, “While making the regulation of making middlemen accountable for their activity, the recruiting agencies should not be victimised.”

Ms. Aroma Dutta, MP, Member, Parliamentary Caucus on Migration said that it is important to find a way to bring the middlemen under formal system. Ms. Dutta gave emphasis on ensuring the dissemination of appropriate information regarding migration so people cannot be deceived. Ms. Aroma Dutta also appreciated RMMRU for the study as it has given a guideline.

Mr. Md. Shamsul Alam, DG, BMET, believes that the profession of middleman is an age old one and has been around for a long time. He felt the need to say that: “In order to bring the middlemen under a system, the possibility of using technology has to be explored.”

According Hon’ble Secretary Dr. Ahmed Munirus Saleheen the migration narrative has to be made positive. Also the recruiting agents should be given proper recognition and respect for their roles in the migration sector.

Mr. Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary, MP, Member, Parliamentary Caucus on Migration said: “Middlemen should be turned into development partners from alleged tools of misuse.” He suggested that middlemen can be trained and appointed as immigration case workers who can deal with the issue of migration. Mr. Patwary thinks this way the rate of unemployment in the country can also be reduced.

Guest Speaker Mr. Mohammad Shaheen, Deputy Secretary, MoEWOE added that the root cause has to be identified to overcome the challenges in migration. Mr. Shaheen said: “The aspirant migrants might have a certain lack of knowledge regarding migration. This issue can be solved if the lack of knowledge is addressed properly.”

Ms. Shirin Lira, Sr. IBP Manager, PROKAS, British Council added that, the provisions regarding agents in the Contract Act, 1872 can be incorporated in the Overseas Employment and Migration Act, 2013. According to her it has to be explored whether the middlemen can be brought under the definition of this Act to be held accountable. Ms. Lira also pointed out: “There is no recognised fee structure in migration. So a basic principle regarding this can be brought in the existing law. Ms. Shirin Lira also congratulated RMMRU for persistently working on this issue and getting a good result out of this movement.

The major outputs of the eSymposium were the expert opinions gathered about regularisation of middlemen in the migration process and introduction of the RMMRU model for regularising to the relevant stakeholders as well.

Orientation on Gender Based Violence and the role of the Frontline Defenders(FD)
Organized by: Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit (RMMRU)
Supported by: PROKAS, British Council
Venue: Bureau Bangladesh, Tangail.
Date: November 01 and November 02, 2020.

RMMRU organized a training workshop for the frontliners with the support of PROKAS under the Fair Labour Migration program where they were made aware of gender-based violence and taught to use gender lenses on professional and personal life. The workshop of two-day long training on Orientation on Gender Based Violence and the role of the Frontline Defenders (FD) with the aim of capacity building had been held in 01 & 02 November 2020 at Bureau Bangladesh, Tangaill, Bangladesh. The objectives of the training were to embed the concept of Gender and teach differences between Gender & Sex on the participant’s mind with strengthening the capacity of the front liner defenders by enhancing their basic knowledge. It aimed to raise awareness against gender violence and pointing out causes behind this singularity. The training also emphasized on preparing the front liner defender’s problem-solving skill and make them aware of the legal statues related to the gender-based violence.

Through several interactive activities, both male and female participates became confident about organizing small gender-based violence awareness meetings themselves at the community level. They feel confident to apply received knowledge on gender-based violence on mediation process and became open to ideas and aware of their responsibilities about the vulnerable community suffered from gender-based violence.


Inception Meeting of the SafeStep project
12th November 2020
Organized by RMMRU and Winrock International
Supported by SafeStep project, Winrock International

RMMRU and Winrock jointly organized an introductory meeting (zoom) titled Inception Meeting of the SafeStep project on 12 November 2020. This inception meeting aimed to share the objectives of the SafeStep project, the features of the SafeStep application, and its importance for migrants with the senior government functionaries, policymakers, civil society stakeholders, and development partners. Dr. CR Abrar, Executive Director, RMMRU moderated the programme. In this meeting, Mr. Steve Brunn, Sr. Director, Private Sector Engagement, VP External Affairs, Winrock International, Ms. Jessie Fisher, Associate Director, Sustainability Consulting (Supply Chain), ELEVATE Hong Kong Holdings Limited,LeanneMelnyk, Head of Human and Labour Rights Governance at Diginex Solutions, Hong Kongwere the guests of the  of the opening session. Ms. NafrizaShayma, Additional Director General (Employment) BMET was present as a special Guest and Mr. Md. Nazibul Islam, Additional Secretary; MoEOWE graced the meeting as the chief guest.

Ms. Nafriza Shayma, being the special guest recognized the significance of the SafeStep mobile application and said that“I absolutely loved the presentation and appreciate your efforts. I hope this mobile application is going to help the migrant workers finding their documents and the right process of migration

Hon’ble Chief Guest Mr. Md. Nazibul Islam, Additional Secretary, MoEOWE said that “I feel honored and privileged to join such a wonderful meeting organised by RMMRU and Winrock in presence of different officials from national and international organizations”. He congratulated RMMRU and Winrock to take such an important project to develop a mobile application titled SafeStep which will be dedicated to ensure safe and regular migration as well as protect the rights of migrants at the same time will raise awareness on safe migration.  He said that “I will be looking forward to the success of this app and wish you good luck” 


Build Back Better RMMRU eSymposium Series on Covid-19 and Migration
5th eSymposium on Impact of Covid-19 on Left behind Migrant Families
Held on 27 July 2020
Jointly organized by BCSM and RMMRU
Supported by Fairer Labour Migration (FLM)project, PROKAS/British Council 

BCSM undertook a research on impact of Covid-19 on left behind family members of migrants on 200 households in twelve districts of Bangladesh.  To share the findings, BCSM and RMMRU jointly organized this eSymposium to present the findings on BCSM research to the policy and civil society stakeholders and development partners on on 27 July 2020 (Monday) from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm. Hon’ble Minister Mr. Imran Ahmad, MP, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, GoB, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. In this symposium, Mr. Barrister Shameem H. Patwary, MP and Mr. Md. Mohsin, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, GoB were present as Guests of Honour. The eSymposium was chaired by Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Full Time Member and the Chair of Migration, Migrant Workers’ Right and Trafficking Thematic CommitteeNational Human Rights Commission.

Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Full time members of NHRC thanked RMMRU and BCSM for conducting this timely research on left behind families. He appreciated RMMRU saying “this research work will guide the future works of ministries and stakeholders. In order to work for migrants and their families we have to collect all the information of migrants and left behind families with the support of BAIRA.  During this COVID situation it is necessary to make anintensive effort to ensure safe and sound working environment for migrants as well.

Imran Ahmed, MP, Minster. MoEWOE as chief guest said that the recommendations raised in the webinar would be discussed at the ministry and decisions will be taken accordingly. He added that the issues of returnee migrants, migrants who are in stuck in Bangladesh have to be addressed with special concern. He also said "I am honored to speak on RMMRU’s research. We urge everyone through this programme to work together for raising awareness and learning of language of destination countries for migrants. If everyone works together it is possible to solve all kinds of problems of migrants.” 

Report on
Virtual Press Conference on 'Protection of Bangladeshi Migrants in the Corona Crisis: RMMRU’s Recommendations'
Organized by: Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU)
Date and Time: April 4, 2020, at 3:00 pm
Venue: Facebook Live

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) hosted a virtual press conference on April 4, 2020, at 3:00 PM, titled 'Protection of Bangladeshi Migrants in the Corona Crisis: RMMRU’s Recommendations'
In order to ensure the protection and wellbeing of the migrants as well as their families during COVID-19, RMMRU developed a situation analysis report on “Impact of COVID 19 on Short Term Labour Migrants and Diaspora with Recommendations”. This was the first-ever intervention of migration organisations in Bangladesh to raise the issue of hardship of migrants to the national and global actors, stakeholders and policymakers as well.
The report highlights the duties and responsibilities of government functionaries of countries of origin as well as countries of destination, policymakers, civil societies, the private sectors, regional forums on migration etc. Dr. Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair of RMMRU presented the report during the live programme on Facebook page of the organisation.
As an immediate response to RMMRU’s statement in the conference, BAIRA Secretary General Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman said "We will pay back all the money if the workers cannot go abroad after the pandemic”.
This conference received a wide response from media while 18 daily print and 3 electric media covered the news.

Photovoice for Community Engagement in Urban Planning: Experience sharing workshop for urban planners and professionals
Organized by: RMMRU, CDA, and University of Exeter, UK
Supported by: Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods at the University of Glasgow, UK
Venue: Dahlia Hall, The Peninsula Hotel, Chattogram
Date: 26 January 2020
Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) and University of Exeter jointly organized a one-day training consolidation workshop on ‘Photovoice for Community Engagement in Urban Planning’ on 26 January 2020 at Dahalia Hall of The Peninsula Hotel 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 RMMRU between 2017 and 2019. The participants were city planners, urban planners, architects, academicians and development professionals. It is supported by funding from the Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods at the University of Glasgow.