The primary objective of the country’s embassies abroad are to maintain bilateral relations between governments and people as well as to take care of its nationals working, studying, visiting or living in foreign countries. That is why, in some of the Middle Eastern countries, where there are many Bangladeshi migrant workers, the embassies have an additional post of Labour Minister whose main job is to look after the welfare of the migrant Bangladeshi workers and find jobs for more of our migrant workers in that country.
The news about 300 migrant workers being jobless without money and food in Dubai, of which 168 are Bangladeshis, due to their company going bankrupt, is worrying. Migrant workers are usually poor people who go abroad to work for wages higher than they have the opportunity to earn in their own country. When such poor migrant workers become unemployed in an alien land, running out of the little money they have, with no kith or kin to help them tide over the rough times, they may literally have to resort to begging to survive. Such is the situation of the Bangladeshi workers of the bankrupt Indian owned company in Dubai.Some workers want to sue the company for unpaid dues, for withholding their passports and documents which made them illegal in that country and thus no new jobs. According to the embassy official related to labour matters, they are providing the workers with legal assistance and food. But he also suggested that the workers should give up their demand to sue and go back with the guarantee money, as he claims that the problem is complex and difficult to solve under the local law.
We totally disagree with the embassy official who should find ways to get the hard-earned money of our workers. We feel that the main job of a Labour Minister in a foreign embassy is to ensure physical safety, job security, dignity of labour, etc. of the migrant workers employed in that country. Therefore, the Labour Minister should pursue the company to get back the travel documents and contractual dues for the workers as they are semi-educated and unable to help themselves in this situation. We should remember how the remittance sent by our hardworking migrant workers oils the wheels of the economy of Bangladesh.