Nazia Haider, Senior Programme Officer, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Bangladesh
The cabinet approved the draft of the "Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Policy 2016" with a view to ensuring and encouraging safe migration and protection of migrants and their families.The draft policy has been formulated keeping in mind international laws on migration. The policy builds on the foundations laid out in the migration policy approved in 2006. The new policy further elaborates on the issues contained in the previous draft and has new policy directives that include ensuring protection of migrant workers, welfare of migrant workers and their families, migration of women, associating migration with national development and governance of labour migration.The Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Policy 2016 also links to the National Skills Development Policy 2011 and the 7th five-year plan. The government will work through a participatory approach in consultation with various stakeholders including prospective men and women migrants, public and private organizations, trade unions, recruiting agencies, employers and international organizations.The International Labour Organization (ILO) provided technical support for the drafting of the policy, which was financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through the project ‘Promoting Decent Work through Improved Migration Policy and its Application in Bangladesh,’ operational from 2011 – 2015. The project also supported the Government of Bangladesh and the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment to draft and approve the Overseas Employment and Migrants Act 2013.It is expected that there will be a next phase of the project, to support the Government of Bangladesh to further strengthen the labour migration governance framework, upon approval of credit. Phase 2 of the project is expected to support the Government to draft Rules pertaining to the Policy and the Act (such as Wage Earners’ Welfare Fund Rules), in order to make the tools operational.