The Bangladeshi government has suddenly realised that the hundreds of thousands of its citizens who are forced to leave home and work abroad are worthy of their attention. Sadly it is not to safeguard worker rights in hostile foreign environments …but to make sure that the fragile rights workers do have back home are taken away! How nice eh?  To this end, the foreign ministry and the inaccurately named Department of Expatriate Welfare (!) have apparently been dreaming up a raft of draconian measures. Here are a couple which are mentioned in a Daily Star Report

  • Migrants workers are to be finger printed and open to prosecution should they abscond from work in the lucrative markets of Europe.

Labour is after all another commodity and the BD government wishes to ensure that the markets view this Bangladesh commodity favourably. Never mind finding out about the incentive structures which lead people to abscond…just make sure you have modern-day bonded labour and if the buggers do do a runner then make life bloody uncomfortable for them. How inspired of this noble, people-friendly government!

  • Labour “guardians” will have to pay a bond of “Tk 10 lakh and fixed deposit receipt of Tk 1 lakh to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training.”

A nice little earner for the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training from the skilled and semi-skilled market, no?  Yes, and there is more :  the Bangladesh government is also to become a labour dalal because government officials are to be “engaged in the process of selecting workers for overseas jobs.”  We all know what that means and what it is a recipe for, don’t we?