The year 2022 may show a 3.17 percent drop in remittance inflow to Bangladesh compared to 2021, a Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) report revealed Thursday said. The migrant workers sent $19.58 billion home during January-November of 2022. If this trend continues, the remittance income will stand at $21.36 billion at the end of the year, it added. The report also assumed that the country's overseas employment will rise by 81.88 percent this year. Bangladesh sent more than 1.0 million workers abroad in the first 11 months of this year. Employment will stand at more than 1.1 million at the end of the year, it added. The report "Labour Migration from Bangladesh 2022: Achievements and Challenges" was disclosed in Dhaka. RMMRU Chair Professor Tasneem Siddiqui, who presented the report, said: "Declining growth in remittance inflow depends on various factors. Workers are heavily dependent on hundi due to low rates in banks." "Also, workers usually cannot send remittances in the first year of their migration. Every year a significant number of workers are cheated while going abroad, and they do not get the right jobs. Moreover, many of them arrange money from home to return." The RMMRU chair suggested ensuring safe migration and increasing incentives for the workers to encourage them to send money through official channels. "The incentive should be 10 percent for the remitters," she said. "If the apparel makers receive attractive cash incentive support, then why not migrant workers?" The report showed that the skilled worker migration decreased in 2022 compared to the previous year. As of December 21, this year, of the total outbound workers, 17.76 percent were skilled workers; 21.33 percent of skilled workers went abroad in 2021. Read more: Swift return of irregular migrants to help promote legal migration: European Commissioner Among the outbound Bangladeshis, the number of professionals is lower. However, it slightly increased compared to last year. As of December 21, this year about 0.33 percent of professionals out of the total migrants went abroad with jobs. The number of professionals was 0.14 percent in 2021, the report said. Some 99,684 women went abroad with jobs during January-November this year. If the trend of outflow continues, the migration of women will increase by nearly 35 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year, the report said. Quoting the US-based Trafficking in Persons report 2022, RMMRU said while the migration cost has decreased slightly, it is still the highest in South Asia for Bangladeshi migrants. It also said although the opening of the Malaysian market was a major development in the outgoing year, workers are still suffering from unethical migration costs. "A section of recruiters continue this unethical practice." Read more: US Asst Secretary Noyes in Bangladesh to discuss refugee, migration issues
Along the U.S. southern border, two cities — El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico — prepared Sunday for a surge of as many as 5,000 new migrants a day as pandemic-era immigration restrictions expire this week, setting in motion plans for emergency housing, food and other essentials. On the Mexican side of the international border, only heaps of discarded clothes, shoes and backpacks remained Sunday morning on the banks of the Rio Grande River, where until a couple of days ago hundreds of people were lining up to turn themselves in to U.S. officials. One young man from Ecuador stood uncertain on the Mexican side; he asked two journalists if they knew anything about what would happen if he turned himself in without having a sponsor in the U.S., and then gingerly removed sneakers and socks and hopped across the low water. On the American side, by a small fence guarded by several Border Patrol vehicles, he joined a line of a dozen people who stood waiting with no U.S. officials in sight. El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego told The Associated Press on Sunday that the region, home to one of the busiest border crossings in the country, was coordinating housing and relocation efforts with groups and other cities, as well as calling on the state and federal government for humanitarian help. The area is preparing for an onslaught of new arrivals that could double their daily numbers once public health rule Title 42 ends on Wednesday. The rule has been used to deter more than 2.5 million migrants from crossing since March 2020. At a migrant shelter not far from the river in a poor Ciudad Juárez neighborhood, Carmen Aros, 31, knew little about U.S. policies. In fact, she said she’d heard the border might close on Dec. 21. She fled the cartel violence in the Mexican state of Zacatecas a month ago, right after her fifth daughter was born and her husband went missing. The Methodist pastor who runs the Buen Samaritano shelter put her on a list to be paroled into the United States and she waits every week to be called. “They told me there was asylum in Juarez, but in truth, I didn’t know much,” she said on the bunk bed she shared with the girls. “We got here … and now let’s see if the government of the United States can resolve our case.” At a vast shelter run by the Mexican government in a former Ciudad Juárez factory, dozens of migrants watched the World Cup final Sunday on two TVs while a visiting team of doctors from El Paso treated many who had come down with respiratory illness in the cold weather. Read: ‘Over 51,000 migrants die, thousands go missing in 8 years’ Constantly changing policies make it hard to plan, said Dylan Corbett, director of the Hope Border Institute, a Catholic organization helping migrants in both El Paso and Juarez. The group started the clinic two months ago. “You have a lot of pent-up pain,” Corbett said. “I’m afraid of what’s going to happen.” With government policies in disarray, “the majority of the work falls to faith communities to pick up the pieces and deal with the consequences.” Just a couple blocks across the border, sleet fell in El Paso as about 80 huddled migrants ate tacos that volunteers grilled up. Temperatures in the region were set to drop below freezing this week. “We’re going to keep giving them as much as we have,” said Veronica Castorena, who came out with her husband with tortillas and ground beef as well as blankets for those who will likely sleep on the streets. Jeff Petion, the owner of a trucking school in town, said this was his second time coming with employees to help migrants in the streets. “They’re out here, they’re cold, they’re hungry, so we wanted to let them know they’re not alone. But across the street from Petion, Kathy Countiss, a retiree, said she worries the new arrivals will get out of control in El Paso, draining resources and directing enforcement away from criminals to those claiming asylum. On Saturday, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser issued an emergency declaration to access additional local and state resources for building shelters and other urgently needed aid. Samaniego, the county judge, said the order came one day after El Paso officials sent Texas Gov. Greg Abbott a letter requesting humanitarian assistance for the region, adding that the request was for resources to help tend to and relocate the newly arriving migrants, not additional security forces. Samaniego said he has received no response to the request and plans to issue a similar county-wide emergency declaration specifying the kind of help the area needs if the city does not get state aid soon. He urged the state and federal governments to provide the additional money, adding they had a strategy in place but were short in financial, essential and volunteer resources. El Paso officials have been coordinating with organizations to provide temporary housing for migrants while they are processed and given sponsors and relocate them to bigger cities where they can be flown or bused to their final destinations, Samaniego said. As of Wednesday, they will all join forces at a one-stop emergency command center, Samaniego said, similarly to their approach to the COVID-19 emergency. Abbott, El Paso city officials and U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday. Read: Swift return of irregular migrants to help promote legal migration: European Commissioner Abbott has committed billions of dollars to “Operation Lone Star,” an unprecedented border security effort that has included busing migrants to so-called sanctuary cities like New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as well as a massive presence of state troopers and National Guard along the Texas-Mexico border. Additionally, the Republican Texas governor has pushed continued efforts to build former President Donald Trump’s wall using mostly private land along the border and crowdsourcing funds to help pay for it. El Paso was the fifth-busiest of the Border Patrol’s nine sectors along the Mexico border as recently as March and suddenly became the most popular by far in October, jumping ahead of Del Rio, Texas, which itself had replaced Texas’ Rio Grande Valley as the busiest corridor at lightning-speed late last year. It is unclear why El Paso has become such a powerful magnet in recent months, drawing especially high numbers of migrants since September. Recent illegal crossings in El Paso – at first largely dominated by Venezuelans and more recently by Nicaraguans – are reminiscent of a short period in 2019, when the westernmost reaches of Texas and eastern end of New Mexico were quickly overwhelmed with new arrivals from Cuba and Central America. El Paso had been a relatively sleepy area for illegal crossings for years. Meanwhile, a group of about 300 migrants began walking northward Saturday night from an area near the Mexico-Guatemala border before being stopped by Mexican authorities. Some wanted to arrive on Dec. 21, under the mistaken belief that the end of the measure would men they could no longer request asylum. Misinformation about U.S. immigration rules is often rife among migrants. The group was largely made up of Central Americans and Venezuelans who had crossed the southern border into Mexico and had waited in vain for transit or exit visas, migratory forms that might have allowed them to make it across Mexico to the U.S. border. “We want to get to the United States as soon as possible, before they close the border, that’s what we’re worried about,” said Venezuelan migrant Erick Martínez.
More than 280 million people have left their countries to pursue opportunity, dignity, freedom, and a better life, the UN said on International Migrants Day Sunday. Secretary-General António Guterres credited more than 80 percent of those who cross borders in a safe and orderly fashion as powerful drivers of economic growth, dynamism, and understanding. "But unregulated migration along increasingly perilous routes – the cruel realm of traffickers – continues to extract a terrible cost." Over the past eight years, at least 51,000 migrants have died, and thousands of others have gone missing, said the top UN official. "Behind each number is a human being – a sister, brother, daughter, son, mother, or father," he said. "Migrant rights are human rights." Read: US Asst Secretary Noyes in Bangladesh to discuss refugee, migration issues "They must be respected without discrimination – and irrespective of whether their movement is forced, voluntary, or formally authorised." Guterres pushed for search and rescue efforts, medical care, expanded and diversified rights-based pathways for migration, and greater international investments in countries of origin to ensure migration is a choice, not a necessity. Gilbert F Houngbo, the head of the International Labour Organization (ILO), shone a light on protecting the rights of the world's 169 million migrant workers. "The international community must do better to ensure… [that they] are able to realise their basic human and labour rights." Leaving them unable to exercise basic rights renders migrant workers invisible, vulnerable and undervalued for their contributions to society, said the most senior ILO official. And when intersecting with race, ethnicity, and gender, they become even more vulnerable to various forms of discrimination. Houngbo said migrants do not only go missing on high-risk and desperate journeys. "Many migrant domestic, agricultural and other workers are isolated and out of reach of those who could protect them, with the undocumented, particularly at risk of abuse." Read: COP27: FM calls for collective action to mainstream climate-induced migration in negotiations Like all employees, migrant workers are entitled to labour standards and international human rights protections, including freedom of association and collective bargaining, non-discrimination, and safe and healthy working environments, said the ILO chief. They should also be entitled to social protection, development and recognition, he added. To make these rights a reality, Houngbo stressed the key importance of fair recruitment, including eliminating recruitment fees charged to migrant workers, which can help eradicate human trafficking and forced labour.
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson has said sending the irregular migrants back to the country of origin swiftly from the European countries will help manage migration safely together moving away from irregular to regular. “It is important that those who arrive irregularly should be sent back swiftly to the country of origin - Bangladesh - to really show that this is not the way to come to the European countries,” she told UNB while responding to a question. EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley accompanied the European Commissioner during the interview here on Friday. Also read: FM Momen urges Japan to stand by Bangladesh in its development journey Johansson, also a former Minister for Employment and Integration of Sweden, said the cooperation on return has really increased and deepened in recent times with immediate reaction as the member states now say they are ready to open for more labour migration and more legal pathways. She said it is important to say that irregular migration cannot be stopped fully without making better opportunities through legal ways. The European Commissioner said there are many things they can do together including efforts to give the right information to the people about the risk of irregular arrivals in Europe.
The New York Fashion Week, one of the most prestigious fashion events of the year, became a celebration of diversity and inclusion earlier last month when designers backed by the No Nation Fashion initiative showcased their creations on the catwalk. The three outfits presented by No Nation Fashion at the event were designed to reflect the journey of migrants – from the earliest nomad way of life to resilience and the ability to rebuild and adapt, and inclusion through social and cultural integration at their destinations. Read: Spray-painted on the body: Bella Hadid’s Paris Fashion Week dress breaks internet Launched as a way for people in transit centres to improve their sewing skills in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2021, No Nation Fashion has come a long way, according to UN News. Those involved graduated from creating reusable masks, providing protection against Covid-19, to designing unique items of clothing, and accessories.
Sixteen journalists have received the Brac Migration Media Award for their reporting. Imran Ahmad, minister of expatriates' welfare and overseas employment, handed over the prizes to the winners in Dhaka Thursday. Brac introduced the award in 2015 to recognise journalism in the migration sector. This year the award was given for the seventh time. Daily Samakal's Rajib Ahmed won first place in the newspaper national category. Prothom Alo's Mansoora Hossain came second, and The Financial Express's Arafat Ara and Ajker Patrika's correspondent Md Shahriar Hasan (now working for Dainik Bangla) earned joint third place. Farooq Munir of Chittagong Khabar won first place in the newspaper regional category, Shariful Islam of Ekushey newspaper was second, and Md Emdad Uliah of weekly Chauddagram newspaper was third. Read: Daraz hosts Bangladesh Media Innovation Awards 2022 Sabina Yasmin of DBC News, (now working at Independent Television) earned first place in the television news category, Marzia Mumu of Shomoy TV came second, and Masuda Khatun of News24 third. Channel 24's Morshed Hassib Hasan won the award in the television programme category. Md Mostafizur Rahman of Bangladesh Betar won it in the radio category. The first prize in the online newspaper category was won by Md Jahangir Alam of Jagonews 24. Dainik Prothom Alo's Md Mohiuddin came second, and Dainik Bangla's Jasmine Akhtar and freelancer Rakib Hasan jointly won the third prize. Each winner receives a crest, certificate of recognition and a cheque for the prize money. The members of the jury board were Professor Robaet Ferdous of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism of Dhaka University, ABM Abdul Halim, deputy secretary of the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry, Shaikh Muhammad Refat Ali of International Labour Organization and News24 Television Chief News Editor Shahnaz Munni.
Data shows that migration from Bangladesh to Japan has significantly developed the character of personal relationships between Bangladeshis and Japanese, and some returnees have retained strong personal ties from the previous sojourn in Japan, according to a Japanese professor. "From the late 1980s, a considerable number of Bangladeshis started to go to Japan. Some of them have developed their families and remained in Japan, but many others have already returned home after their time in Japan," Tetsuo Mizukami, dean and professor of the College of Sociology and director of the Center for Statistics and Information at Rikkyo University, said. Read: Iran keen to enhance economic relations with Bangladesh: Envoy A Japanese team is now in Bangladesh to conduct research on Bangladeshis' migration pattern to Japan. This research project "Global Migration and Transnational Networks," commenced at the College of Sociology in 2014 April. Read: Kuwaiti envoy urged to explore investment opportunities in Bangladesh "We have been gathering empirical data by conducting questionnaire surveys and intensive interviews with these Bangladeshis who had lived in Japan and experienced Japanese social life for a long period, and have since returned to their homeland." The project seeks data about life at the grassroots level of relationships to develop a broader understanding of Bangladesh-Japan relationships, Tetsuo said.
Experts Thursday stressed the need to collaborate on the promotion of fair and ethical recruitment to ensure decent work and safe migration across South and Southeast Asia. They were speaking at the two-day meeting of the Thematic Area Working Group (TAWG) of the Colombo Process (CP) on fostering ethical recruitment practices in Dhaka. CP is a regional consultative process of 12 Asian countries that focuses on the protection of and provision of services to migrant workers and optimising the benefits of organised labour migration for both sending and receiving countries for both migrants and their families. During the 9th meeting of the TAWG, member states finalised their four-year work plan to further the goals of transforming the recruitment industry from the employee-pay model to an employer-pay model; ensuring informal recruitment actors are encompassed under the regulatory framework and equipping migrant workers with the information necessary for decent work and safe migration. Read: Bangladesh truly a champion of migration management: IOM
It was early one morning when life under Russian occupation became too much for Volodymyr Zhdanov: Rocket fire aimed at Ukrainian forces struck near his home in the city of Kherson, terrifying one of his two children. His 8-year-old daughter “ran in panic to the basement. It was 2 o’clock in the morning and (she) was really scared,” said Zhdanov, who later fled the city on the Black Sea and has been living in Kyiv, the capital, for the past three weeks. Kherson, located north of the Crimean Peninsula that was annexed by Moscow in 2014, was the first city to fall after Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24. The port remains at the heart of the conflict and Ukraine’s efforts to preserve its vital access to the sea. For Russia, Kherson is a key point along the land corridor from its border to the peninsula. Zhdanov and others who made the hazardous journey to escape from the region describe increasingly grim conditions there, part of a heavy-handed effort by Russia to establish permanent control. The streets in the city, which had a prewar population of about 300,000, are mostly deserted. Rumors swirl about acts of armed resistance and the sudden disappearance of officials who refuse to cooperate with the Russian authorities. Occupation forces patrol in markets to warn those trying to use the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia, in transactions. Pro-Moscow officials have been installed in local and regional governments, as well as on the police force. Workers at various municipal services face pressure to cooperate with Russian managers. Most schools have closed. Supplies of essential goods are uneven, halting most commercial activity. There are shortages of medicines and spikes in the price of other commodities. Many residents had been determined to hold out as long as possible for a promised Ukrainian counterattack that hasn’t materialized. “There was physical danger in the city, because there were many soldiers,” Zhdanov said. A referendum on the region becoming a part of Russia has been announced by Moscow-installed officials, although no date has been set. Meanwhile, officials are pressuring those remaining to take Russian citizenship. Income from Zhdanov’s family flower business dried up after the currency change, although he kept growing plants anyway. “It’s difficult to survive with no money and no food,” he said. “Who would want a Russian government if your life, business, and kids’ education are taken away from you? They’ve all gone.” When he left Kherson with his family, Zhdanov risked arrest by hiding a Ukrainian flag in the bottom of his pack. He had kept the flag from a public protest of the Russian troop presence. Read: Russia takes small cities, aims to widen east Ukraine battle Journalist Yevhenia Virlych also stayed for five months and kept working, writing about officials who had allegedly cooperated with the Russians. But she worked while in hiding and feared for her safety, frequently changing apartments and posting photos of Poland on social media to give the impression she had already fled. “They have tied a knot around Kherson and it’s getting tighter,” Virlych said, adding that locals are being pressured to accept Russian passports. “Russia, which came under the banner of liberation, but came to torture and take us captive. How can anyone live that way?” Last month, Virlych finally fled to Kyiv with her husband. Those wanting to leave Kherson must pass a series of Russian military checkpoints. Soldiers search belongings, identity papers and mobile phones, with anyone suspected of supporting the resistance facing interrogation at so-called filtration camps. As Kherson sinks into poverty, it’s getting harder to leave. A bus ticket to Zaporizhzhia, a city 300 kilometers (185 miles) to the northeast, now costs the equivalent of $160. Before the war, it was $10. Virlych said she admired the bravery of those who are staying behind as well as of those who risked their lives to join anti-Russian protests in the early stages of the occupation. She recalled a major demonstration on March 5 attended by more than 7,000 people. “In all my life, I’ve never seen people take such action,” she said. By April, the protests had stopped as occupying troops began responding to them with lethal force, Virlych added, saying, “The Russians were opening fire (at crowds) and people were getting wounded.” Moscow wants to maintain its hold on Kherson, which is strategically located near the North Crimean Canal that provides water to the Russian-occupied peninsula. Ukraine had shut down the canal after the annexation eight years ago, but the Russians reopened it after they took control of the region. Like Zhdanov, Virlych is still holding out hope for a Ukrainian counteroffensive to wrest the region away from Russia. “I believe only in God and the Ukrainian armed forces,” she said. “I no longer have faith in anything else.”
Speakers at a meeting at Shariatpur district on Friday highlighted the importance of creating mass awareness on the negative aspects of the human trafficking so that everyone is encouraged for safe migration. Local leaders, media, NGOs, Imams, school and college teachers have been requested to play active role in this regard. The speakers appreciated such initiative of having all the stakeholders in one platform to address the illegal migration issue properly. The town hall meeting on "Preventing Human Trafficking and Encouraging Safe Migration" held at the Pourashava auditorium of Shariatpur district was arranged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the cooperation of the Shariatpur District Administration. Nahim Razzaq, Member of Parliament and Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke as the chief guest.