BEI President Farooq Sobhan chaired a session on Managing International Migration and Flow of Remittances:Recent Global Developments and Implications for South Asia at Fourth South Asia Economic Summit on Global Recovery,New Risks and Sustainable Gro

The Daily Star, Sunday, October 23, 2011

Costly migration raises concern
Analysts speak at regional summit in Dhaka
Star Business Report

Analysts yesterday expressed concern over high costs of migration and suggested collective negotiation by South Asian countries with the receiving countries to reduce the costs.

Speaking at a regional summit, Dr Tasneem Siddiqui, chairman of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, said migrant workers have to pay double the actual amount and most of the cost is charged by the destination countries. “Even if a worker uses all of his earnings, though it is not possible, it will take 17 months to repay the cost.”

It is not possible for Bangladesh alone to resolve the migration cost issue, Siddiqui said. South Asian countries should work together to solve it, she added.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue, a private think-tank, organised the two-day Fourth South Asia Economic Summit on Global Recovery, New Risks and Sustainable Growth: Repositioning South Asia at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka.

Farooq Sobhan, president of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, chaired a session of the summit — Managing International Migration and Flow of Remittances: Recent Global Developments and Implications for South Asia — where experts from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka expressed their opinions.

Siddiqui said Bangladesh has been losing its share of labour market in some countries due to less skilled workers. “Though the concerned ministry has taken several steps to increase skills of the workers, it is not working because it is not part of the national planning,” she said.

Dr Ganesh Gurung, founding chairperson of Nepal Institute of Development Studies, said the migration costs have increased over the last one decade, but not wages.

He felt that regional leaders must attach importance to the migration agenda at the forthcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit.

Dr Selim Raihan, who teaches economics at Dhaka University, stressed the need for conducting panel studies to learn about the flow and use of remittance.

“We don’t know how the money is used by the family members of the migrant workers,” he said.

He also suggested more bilateral initiatives by the government with the destination countries to solve different problems of migrant workers.

Farooq Sobhan mentioned 10 recommendations, including concentration on better management, adoption of development friendly migration strategy and implementation of a programme to strengthen the migration management capacity that he will put out at the Commonwealth Summit to be held this week.


23 October, 2011