These recent steps deserve applause, but this is just the beginning
It is safe to say that, while the Bangladesh economy relies heavily on the remittance we receive from migrant workers, we do not have the greatest track record when it comes to helping these people.
From lackluster support from our embassies to ineffective safety nets, the authorities concerned really need to step up its support for migrant workers who work tirelessly in extremely difficult conditions aborad.
Thus, it is incredibly auspicious to see that the government will bear the cost of Covid test expenses of UAE bound workers, and it is certainly a step in the right direction. The Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry will bear the expenses, which costs Tk1600 each, of United Arab Emirates bound workers undergoing Covid-19 tests at the RT-PCR laboratories of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.
While the cost of these tests may add up in the long run, the country has been benefitting from the remittance that comes from the hard work of these workers for a very long time. In fact, it won’t be an overstatement to say that most foreigners know Bangladesh through the contributions of these people. So, the fact that we are finally taking even such a small step to care for them should be a joyous occasion -- it has been a long time coming.
These recent steps deserve applause, but this is just the beginning. Proper diplomatic channels have to be set up in destination countries like the UAE so that the workers can get in touch with our representatives easily. Law enforcement also has to crack down on dishonest brokers and agencies, and stop the treatment of our workers as objects. Social safety nets have to be set up as well, so that our workers can remain safe in their respective workplaces.
All in all, focus has to be put on keeping our workers safe, and making sure they prosper.