Expenditure including airfare for migrant workers going abroad is much higher than their income and they have to take years together for job to recover the costs.
Although Bangladesh has G2G (Government to Government) agreements with different countries, it is not having any effect on the migrant workers of Bangladesh. A Bangladeshi immigrant has to spend an average of Tk 4,16,789 to migrate. In that ratio, their average monthly income is Tk 23 thousand 693.
In the case of unskilled workers, the cost of going abroad is Tk 4 lakh 77 thousand 927. Whereas in the case of skilled immigrants, it is Tk 4 lakh 27 thousand 217.
However, in the case of domestic workers, the average recruitment cost stands at Tk 1 lakh 18 thousand 964.
This information has come up in a recent survey published by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics with the financial and technical support of the International Labour Organisation.
The average cost to go to Singapore is Tk 5 lakh 74 thousand 241, which is the highest. The average monthly income there is Tk 38 thousand 129. And the lowest cost to go to Oman, is Tk 3 lakh 8 thousand 47. The average monthly income is Tk 19 thousand 177 there.
According to the Immigration Survey Expenditure 2020 the total number of migrant workers in the country between 2015 and 2018 was 27.3 lakh. Of them, 14.8 percent were women and the remaining 85.2 percent men.
Of the total female immigrants, 83.8 percent were skilled and the remaining 8.7 percent unskilled. In addition, 7.5 percent were skilled workers. Among male immigrants, 77.4 percent were skilled, 20.1 percent unskilled, and the remaining 2.4 percent were male domestic workers.
According to the survey, at the migrant level, the ratio of migrant worker recruitment cost and monthly employment income is 17.6 percent. There is a difference in the ratio of employment expenditure to monthly employment income between female and male workers.
The income ratio of men is 19.1 percent and of women is 5.6 percent. However, it takes 5.6 months to recover the recruitment cost for women and 19.1 months to recover the recruitment cost for men.
When asked, the Head of BRAC's migration programme, Shariful Islam Hasan said, “We keep on saying so long that the average recruitment cost of Bangladeshi migrants is high, as evidenced by the BBS survey.”
Now it costs four to five lakh taka for a worker aspiring to work abroad, but they cannot earn as much. The period in which one goes to work also ends; As a result, they become undocumented and their salaries are further reduced. In this case, I think the average recruiting cost of an immigrant should not be more than Tk 60 thousand. Otherwise, they will fall into extreme misery.”
To address the problem, he said, we need to reduce the cost of immigration, and we need to increase the skills of our workers, stop the visa trade, and stop recruiting syndicates.