In the views of young volunteers; information, language and skills for fairer labor migration are major concerning issues. They also shared their experiences of interviewing the aspirant migrants in TTCs (Technical Training Center). The major areas of apprehension were expressed at IID’s Policy Forum on Fairer Labor Migration on 31st August in Gaibandha which was followed by a Hello MP session in presence of the local Member of Parliament, Ms. Mahabub Ara Begum Gini and other government officials on 2nd September.
People who are going abroad as migrants, always face difficulties as most of them come from root level and proper information related to their documents, the destination country and the rules and regulations as migrants are not passed/instructed to them. For this, volunteers who are already working on migration or their processes should guide the aspirant migrants to make them aware of relevant and required information. The volunteers in this aspect can act as an information hub between the TTCs and the government organizations.
Lack of language training and illiteracy among Bangladeshi migrants restrict their understanding of the written documents such as visa or the job contracts. So, when they go to a foreign land, language becomes a barrier for them. Proper language training should take place for the aspirant migrants in the country for at least 2-3 months.
Bangladeshi migrants mostly lack any skill training for the job they plan to pursue. Bangladesh has social stigma against vocational training. Due to this societal pressure, youths are forced to pursue higher education hence it delays them to pursue their career. Also, TTCs do not have proper infrastructure to train the aspirant migrants in some aspect. Lack of skills put the migrants in trouble at their destination country workplaces.
In the Hello MP session, the youth presented their concerning issues about migration to the local Member of Parliament, Ms. Mahabub Ara Begum Gini. During the session, she said that vocational training is essential and PDTs (Pre Departure Training) should be more than 15days, especially, for aspirant migrant. So that they don’t face any trouble as a migrant.
Ms. Mahabub Ara Begum Gini also said that the Government of Bangladesh is trying to facilitate in allocating a female dormitory for female migrants in the destination country so that they remain secured, stress free and not become subjected towards violence in their work place.
The overall discussion was a part of IID’s ‘Youth for Policy’ initiative that promotes policy and advocacy on youth, skills and employment at home and abroad .
Extend Pre-departure Training duration for future migrants
Youth volunteers at an IID organized 5-day workshop in Chittagong named ‘Policy Camp’ suggested extending the training duration of the mandatory Pre-departure Training (PDT) as well as shifting the timing of the training to the beginning of the migration processing for the Bangladeshi migrants.
According to the current policy of the government, every Bangladeshi has to undertake a 3-day Pre Departure training (PDT) at their local Technical Training Centres. The PDT is designed to provide an overall guideline of travelling and living overseas along with necessary cautions required for processing migration. However, most of the training content is beneficial in avoiding middleman or dealing them better only if the knowledge is transferred earlier. Once all the processing is done, only then the migrants (those migrating in few weeks or month) attend the PDTs. Thus the utility of the training remain limited.
The training workshop was held during 22nd July to 26th July 2018 in Chittagong with 20 local youths of IID’s youth network Youth for Policy who is already volunteering in different fields of their interest. Apart from giving an overview of the formal policymaking process in Bangladesh, they were given a brief idea of the migration related policies and current situation in Bangladesh. For a first-hand experience, the trainees were taken to visit the two local Technical Training Centres (TTC) in Barishal where they interviewed the TTC principles, trainers and the Pre-departure (PDT) trainees.
Drawing on the field experiences, trainees analysed and identified the major problems in the PDT training. Among the significant issues were the short duration of the training, need for residential arrangement; medium of training delivery and timing of the training. They also came up with suggestions to address these issues and discussed the plausibility and scope of those suggestions to be considered for inclusion in Bangladeshi public policy.
The trainees also had the opportunity to share their recommendations with a local government representative from the department of social services and the TTC principles. They clarified the government’s already undertaken steps that could possibly address the language and residential arrangement issues. However, they also agreed with the limited time duration of the Pre-departure training and urged that it should be extended to minimum 7-days to prepare the future migrants with all necessary life skills for adapting in a foreign land.