Migration has become one of the primary concerns of various countries of the world. In the context of existing potential of manpower and the constraint to local employment opportunity, overseas employment is now considered as an obvious development alternative of economic emancipation and empowerment for Bangladesh. It has become an added advantage particularly for poverty alleviation of women in Bangladesh. International migration of manpower has in recent years emerged as the most important issue in the development discourse in Bangladesh. Remittances from Bangladeshi migrants have constituted a larger share of the country’s development budget than foreign aid. Thus, migration is now considered as important livelihood strategy for the people of Bangladesh.
Definition of Legal and Illegal Migration:
Migration is the movement by people from one place to another with the intention of settling temporarily or permanently in the new location. The movement is typically over long distances and from one country to another, but internal migration is also possible. Migration may be by individuals, family units or in large groups.
And Immigration is the movement of people into a country to which they are not native in order to settle there, especially as permanent or future citizens. Immigrants are motivated to leave their native countries for a variety of reasons, including a lack of local access to resources, a desire for economic prosperity, family re-unification, escape from prejudice, conflict or natural disaster, or simply the wish to change one’s surroundings.
On the other hand, Illegal migration is the migration of people across national borders in a way that violates the immigration laws of the destination country. Some countries have millions of illegal immigrants. Immigration, including illegal immigration, is overwhelmingly increasing these days, from a poorer to a richer country. However, it is also noted that illegal immigrants tend not to be the poorest within their populations.
According to the Overseas Employment and Migrations Act, 2013, section 2(2):- “Migrant means any citizen of Bangladesh who has migrated to a foreign country for the purpose of overseas employment in any work or profession and is staying in that country”.
Historical Background of Migration:
Historical migration of human populations begins with the movement of Homo erectus out of Africa across Eurasia about 1.75 million years ago. Homo sapiens appear to have occupied all of Africa about 150,000 years ago, moved out of Africa 70,000 years ago, and had spread across Australia, Asia and Europe by 40,000 years BCE. Migration to the Americas took place 20,000 to 15,000 years ago, and within 2,000 years, most of the Pacific Islands were colonized. Later population movements notably include the Neolithic Revolution, Indo-European expansion, and the Early Medieval Great Migrations including Turkic expansion. In some places, substantial cultural transformation occurred following the migration of relatively small elite populations, Turkey and Azerbaijan being such examples. In Britain, it is considered that the Roman and Norman conquests were similar examples, while the most hotly debated of all the British cultural transitions is the role of migration in the relatively sudden and drastic change from Romano-Britain to Anglo-Saxon Britain, which may be explained by a possible substantial migration of Anglo-Saxon Y chromosomes into Central England (contributing 50%–100% to the gene pool at that time.) From 728 BC, the Greeks began 250 years of expansion, settling colonies in several places, including Sicily and Marseille. In Europe, two waves of migrations dominate demographic distributions, that of the Celtic people and that of the later Migration Period from the North and East, both being possible examples of general cultural change sparked by primarily elite and warrior migration. Other examples are small movements like that of the Magyars into Pannonia (modern-day Hungary). Turkic peoples spread from their homeland of Turkestan across most of Central Asia into Europe and the Middle East between the 6th and 11th centuries. Recent research suggests that Madagascar was uninhabited until Austronesian seafarers from Indonesia arrived during the 5th and 6th centuries. Subsequent migrations from both the Pacific and Africa further consolidated this original mixture, and Malagasy people emerged. Between the 11th and 18th centuries, there were numerous migrations in Asia. The Vatsayan Priests from the eastern Himalaya hills, migrated to Kashmir during the Shan invasion in 1203 BC. They settled in the lower Shivalik hills in 1206 BC to sanctify the manifest goddess. In the Ming occupation, the Vietnamese expanded southward in a process known as nam tien. Manchuria was separated from China proper by the Inner Willow Palisade, which restricted the movement of the Han Chinese into Manchuria during the early Qing Dynasty, as the area was off-limits to the Han until the Qing started colonizing the area with them later on in the dynasty’s rule. The Age of Exploration and European colonialism led to an accelerated pace of migration since Early Modern times. In the 16th century, perhaps 240,000 Europeans entered American ports. In the 19th century, over 50 million people left Europe for the Americas.
Recent Migration Flaws around the World:
There are many sources for estimates on worldwide migration patterns. The World Bank has published a yearly Migration and Remittances Fact book since 2008. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has published a yearly World Migration Report since 1999. The United Nations Statistics Division also keeps a database on worldwide migration. Recent advances in research of migration via the Internet promises better understanding of migration patterns and migration motives.
The World Bank’s Migration and Remittances Fact book of 2011 lists the following estimates for the year 2010: Total number of immigrants: 215.8 million or 3.2% of world population. In 2013, the percentage of international migrants worldwide increased by 33% with 59% of migrants choosing developed regions. Almost half of these migrants are women which is one of the most significant migrant pattern changes in the last half century.
Often, a distinction is made between voluntary and involuntary migration or between refugees fleeing political conflict or natural disaster vs. economic or labour migration, but these distinctions are difficult to make and partially subjective, as the motivators for migration are often correlated.
The World Bank’s report estimates that, as of 2010, 16.3 million or 7.6% of migrants qualified as refugees. At the end of 2012, approximately 15.4 million people were refugees and persons in refugee-like situations and 87% of them found asylum in developing countries.
Structurally, there is substantial South-South and North-North migrations, i.e., most emigrants from high-income OECD countries migrate to other high-income countries, and a substantial part (estimated at 43%) of emigrants from developing countries migrate to other developing countries. The United Nations Population Fund says that, while the North has experienced a higher absolute increase in the migrant stock since 2000 (32 million) compared to the South (25 million), the South recorded a higher growth rate. Between 2000 and 2013, the average annual rate of change of the migrant population in the developing regions (2.3%) slightly exceeded that of the developed regions (2.1%).
The top ten destination countries are:
The top ten countries of origin are:
The top ten migration corridors worldwide are:
Remittance, i.e., funds transferred by migrant workers to their home country, is a substantial part of the economy of some countries. The top ten remittance recipients in 2010 were (estimates in billion US dollar):
-India (55; 2.7% of GDP)
-China (51; 0.5% of GNP)
-Mexico (22.6; 1.8% of GDP)
-Philippines (21.3; 7.8% of GDP)
-France (15.9; 0.5% of GDP)
-Germany (11.6; 0.2% of GDP)
-Bangladesh (11.1; 7.2% of GDP)
-Belgium (10.4; 1.9% of GDP)
-Spain (10.2; 0.7% of GDP)
-Nigeria (10.0; 1.9% of GDP).
Recent Phenomena of Illegal Migration:
Official government sources put the number of visa overstates in Australia at approximately 50,000. This has been the official number of illegal immigrants for about 25 years and is considered to be low. Other sources have placed it at up to 100,000, but no detailed study has been completed to quantify this number, which could be significantly higher.
On 1 June 2013, the Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Act 2013 commenced. This new law puts the onus on businesses to ensure that their employees maintain the necessary work entitlements in Australia. The new legislation also enables the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship to levy infringement notices against business (AUD $15,300) and individual (AUD $3,060) employers on a strict liability basis – meaning that there is no requirement to prove fault, negligence or intention.
Brazil has long been part of international migration routes. In 2009, the government estimated the number of illegal immigrants at about 200,000 people; a Catholic charity working with immigrants said there were 600,000 illegal immigrants (75,000 of which from Bolivia). That same year, the Brazilian Parliament approved an amnesty, opening a six-month window for all foreigners to seek legalization irrespective of their previous standing before the law. Brazil had last legalized all immigrants in 1998; bilateral deals, one of which promoted the legalization of all reciprocal immigrants with Bolivia to date, signed in 2005, are also common.
There is no credible information available on illegal immigration in Canada. Estimates range between 35,000 and 120,000 illegal immigrants in Canada. James Bissett, a former head of the Canadian Immigration Service, has suggested that the lack of any credible refugee screening process, combined with a high likelihood of ignoring any deportation orders, has resulted in tens of thousands of outstanding warrants for the arrest of rejected refugee claimants, with little attempt at enforcement. Refugee claimants in Canada do not have to attempt re-entry to learn the status of their claim. A 2008 report by the Auditor General Sheila Fraser stated that Canada has lost track of as many as 41,000 illegal immigrants. This number was predicted to increase drastically with the expiration of temporary employer work permits issued in 2007 and 2008, which were not renewed in many cases because of the shortage of work due to the recession.
China is building a security barrier along its border with North Korea to prevent entry of the defectors or refugees from North Korea. Also, many immigrants from Mongolia have tried to make it to China. There might be as many as 100,000 Africans in Guangzhou, mostly illegal. To encourage people to report foreigners living illegally in China, the police are giving a 100 Yuan reward to whistleblowers whose information successfully leads to an expulsion.
According to a BBC report from 2012, over 80% of illegal immigrants entering the European Union pass through Greece.
A tough 2008 EU immigration law allowing to detain illegal immigrants for up to 18 months before deportation had triggered outrage across Latin America, with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez threatening to cut off oil exports to Europe.
As of 2009 there were between 550,000 and 950,000 illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom, with a figure of 750,000 as the most likely number. The United Kingdom is a difficult country to reach as it is mostly located on one island and part of another, but traffickers in Calais, France have tried to smuggle illegal immigrants into the UK. Many illegal immigrants come from Africa and Asia. As of 2008 there were also many from Eastern Europe and Latin America having overstayed their visas.
A 2012 study carried out by the University of Oxford’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) has estimated that there were 120,000 irregular migrant children in the UK, of whom 65,000 were born in the UK to parents without legal status. According to the study these children are at risk of destitution, exploitation and social exclusion because of contradictory and frequently changing rules and regulations which jeopardize their access to healthcare, education, protection by the police and other public services.
Russia experiences a constant flow of immigration. On average, 200,000 legal immigrants enter the country every year; about half are ethnic Russians from other republics of the former Soviet Union. In addition, there are an estimated 10–12 million unauthorized immigrants in the country. There has been a significant influx of ethnic Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis and Uzbeks into large Russian cities in recent years, which has been viewed very unfavorably by many citizens and contributed to nationalist sentiments.
In 2004, Saudi Arabia began construction of a Saudi–Yemen barrier between its territory and Yemen to prevent the unauthorized movement of people and goods into and out of the Kingdom. Anthony H. Cordesman labeled it a “separation barrier.” In February 2004, The Guardian reported that Yemeni opposition newspapers likened the barrier to the Israeli West Bank barrier, while The Independent wrote “Saudi Arabia, one of the most vocal critics in the Arab world of Israel’s ‘security fence’ in the West Bank, is quietly emulating the Israeli example by erecting a barrier along its porous border with Yemen”. Saudi officials rejected the comparison saying it was built to prevent infiltration and smuggling.51-53
Between 10 million and 20 million illegal immigrants are estimated to be living in the United States. Estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center show the number of illegal immigrants has declined to 11.1 million in March 2009 from a peak of 12 million in March 2007. The majority of the illegal immigrants are from Mexico. Illegal immigration has long been controversial. In 2007, The Pew Hispanic Center notes that while the number of legal immigrants arriving has not varied substantially since the 1980s, the number of illegal immigrants has increased dramatically and, since the mid-1990s, has surpassed the number of legal immigrants. Penalties for employers of illegal immigrants, of $2,000–$10,000 and up to six months imprisonment, go largely unenforced.
In a 2011 news story, Los Angeles Times reported, illegal immigrants in 2010 were parents of 5.5 million children, 4.5 million of whom were born in the U.S. and are citizens. Because illegal immigrants are younger and more likely to be married, they represented a disproportionate share of births — 8% of the babies born in the U.S. between March 2009 and March 2010 had at least one illegal immigrant parent. Immigration from Mexico to the United States has slowed in recent years. This has been attributed to the slowing of the U.S. economy, the buildup in security along the border and increased violence on the Mexican side of the border.54-64
Illegal Migration on Bangladesh Perspective:
Bangladesh is a developing country from which an about eight million Bangladeshis are working abroad. Migration is playing a very critical role to the economy of Bangladesh. About 60% of current Bangladeshi migrant overseas are women and this trend is increasing day by day. Most of them are recruited by the private recruitment agencies. The Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) are responsible for the whole migration process in Bangladesh, including management of the process and ensuring of welfare of the migrants. There are around 800 formal recruitment agencies in Bangladesh, but a large number of migrant workers receive work permits through unofficial channels and migrate without the knowledge of BMET. These undocumented workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. As a major sending country, Bangladesh needs to develop frameworks or agreements that are binding on both home and host governments and employers to improve protection of Bangladeshi workers overseas.
It is estimated that over five million Bangladeshis are currently working overseas, contributing greatly to their families, communities and the country’s economy through remittances. Remittances sent by migrants through official channels reached a record high level of USD 11 billion in 2010. Migration is increasingly being recognized as a viable livelihood option and one of the major development issues for Bangladesh. The growth in migration from Bangladesh and the increasing levels of remittances and consequent benefits to the society and the country are not without its challenges. Alongside regular and beneficial migration – irregular migration, informal channels of remittance and irregular migration, informal channels of remittance and human trafficking continue to result in serious violations of migrants rights and an increasing number of Bangladeshi irregular migrants are apprehended in destination countries. Other contributing factors include irregular recruitment practices and abuses, rising migration costs, and a lack of data and follow-up with returning migrants, who have greater vulnerability in terms of infectious diseases, psychological well-being and lack of access to appropriate health services. Health of mobile populations is a growing concern expressed by governments, international organizations, NGOs, and civil society on many international forums. In order to address some of these challenges, Government operational and administrative capacity needs to be enhanced. Responses include further investment and assistance in cross-border technical cooperation, capacity-building of and regional order checkpoints, prevention of migration-related crime, awareness-raising on the risks of irregular migration and improved labor migration management.
Additionally, trafficking people, including the trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of men, women and children for labor exploitation, remains a grave concern in the country and the region. In order to combat trafficking, the capacity of relevant authorities in Bangladesh and relevant destination countries is being strengthened. Furthermore, awareness raising activities on safe migration are being conducted. Innovative ventures building on principles of Corporate Social Responsibility and Private Public Partnership have been initiated for economic empowerment and reintegrating, victims of trafficking.
Most migrant workers from Bangladesh are engaged in the notorious `3-D’s- dangerous, dirty and demeaning jobs. Due to flawed immigration policy and poor enforcement, migrant workers have been victims of corruption by middlemen before departure; their employers in the host country confiscate their passports, force them to sign reversed contracts in a language they do not understand, pay low wages, delay payment and provide no medical care.
District-wise migration from Bangladesh showing in number:
Reason behind Illegal Migration:
Reason behind Illegal Migration can be divided into two groups of factors:
1. Push Factors and
2. Pull Factors.
Push factors are things that are unfavorable about the area that one lives in, and pull factors are things that attract one to another area.
-Not enough jobs
-Famine or drought
-Political fear or persecution
-Slavery or forced labour
-Poor medical care
-Loss of wealth
-Desire for more political or religious freedom
-Poor chances of marrying
-Condemned housing (radon gas, etc.)
-Better living conditions
-The feeling of having more political and/or religious freedom
-Better medical care
-Better chances of marrying.
Impact of Illegal Migration:
With the growing numbers of illegal immigrants, they will need social programs like government schools and hospitals. They may also need to be included in the socialized housing programs if necessary. it would cost the government additional funds coming from the taxpayers’ money to support them. Undocumented immigrants are also the great responsibilities of our government so whether we like it or not, as a democratic and free country, we still have to provide these immigrants the privileges any human deserve although not in special way like the citizens.
Based from the studies, since there are now illegal immigrants that are into labor force, employers who are into manual and blue-collar businesses are hiring the skilled ones while they lowered the wages of the state workers without their high school diploma. So mainly, jobs now like in the construction, janitorial, maintenance, waste management and other so-called “lower-end jobs” and “dirty jobs” is being handed over preferably to undocumented immigrants on low salary rate.
Most crimes in the state are usually caused by young people and surprisingly many of these are children of illegal immigrants. These youths are being used by underground syndicates and encourage them to form their groups and gangs within less-inhabited territories and do drug dealing, gun smuggling and even use the Internet to do their criminal acts.
Health Care Services :
It is undeniable that with the long lines of people on government hospitals seeking for medical assistance every day, some of these are illegal immigrants. It is only proper for us to treat them like everybody else. However, a large number of them can literally take a lot on the hospitals’ funding which the national government provides. Though there are also a lot of undocumented immigrants who pay their taxes and social security, not all of the sick ones seeking medical assistance do pay these obligations.
According to the world’s rule of law, education is now one of man’s basic necessities so it is the role of every government to provide free or subsidized education to its citizens. However, it is estimated that in 2009, around 5 to 8 percent of students in the elementary and high school are children of immigrants while a big portion of these are kids of illegal immigrants. Assuming that the illegal immigrant parents don’t pay the right taxes, the majority of the American school children including the kids of legal immigrants are getting deprived of funds because some of the money goes to funding children of illegal immigrants instead of using it to better facilities and further implementation of school development programs.
National security is one of the major highlights that are contained in the proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. This bill has a good purpose and that it should greatly lessen the number of illegal immigrants that intrude borders while it is also aimed at securing the country’s security and safety of the people. Lack of diligence on the part of the authorities is another factor so when illegal immigrants make their way through, they continue to attract more people to follow through and so the cycle continues.
Laws relating to Migration and its Application:
The Overseas Employment and Migrations Act, 2013 and Immigration Ordinance, 1982 are the two existing parent laws regarding migration in Bangladesh. Moreover, the government is likely to enact more of such provisions as with the intent of creating opportunities for overseas employment, introducing safe migration mechanisms and protecting the rights of all Migrant workers. Under the proposed new law, a cheated migrant worker could directly file a case with magistrate courts. There was a big flaw in the Emigration Ordinance, 1982 since a cheated migrant worker could not directly file a case against fraudulent manpower recruiters. The Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) could file case on behalf of the victims with the four special courts set up in four old divisions.
In 31 years only 250 cases had been filed with the four courts despite thousand of incidents of cheating in the processing of overseas jobs had taken place during that period. A total of 90 cases had been settled while the rest are under the process of undergoing trials. The secretary said that the rights of migrant workers would be protected and the cheated migrants would get justice. According to BMET, the country received $14.17 bn in remittances in 2012. The draft of the law proposes a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and a penalty of at least Tk500, 000 for not sending a person to the designated destination. The draft also proposes a seven year term of imprisonment and a fine of at least Tk 3,00,000 for illegally collecting demand letters, visas, or work permits from abroad and trading them at home. It also suggests one year of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Tk 5, 00,000 for the publishing or publicizing of advertisements for overseas employment without prior permission from the government or the BMET.
The offences under the law will be included in the Mobile Court Act 2009 for quick disposal of cases and the court will dispose of case within four months from the date of charges being lodged. If this does not occur, the magistrate concerned can increase the processing period by two months for recording reasonable grounds for the extension. The Magistrate would also be required to send reports on the development of the case to the chief judicial magistrate. As per chapter seven of the draft law, the potential migrant workers will have the right to obtain Information about migration processes, job contracts and the work environment of the destination country. The proposed law stipulates that the government will fix the cost of migration. Recruiting agencies will not be allowed to appoint their representatives in Bangladesh but with permission from the government they will be allowed to appoint their representatives abroad. On August 12, 2013 the cabinet finally approved the draft of the Overseas Employment and Migration Act-2013 placed by the Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry.
Awareness campaign and information dissemination are two major tools for ensuring safe migration of workers through raising their awareness and knowledge. This program may be designed at pre-decision making, pre-employment and pre-departure stages. The major contents of the information may be as follows:
1. Information on legal migration cost.
2. Minimum wages in different countries.
3. Facilities and problems of migration in various countries.
4. Cost and benefit analysis of migration
5. Legal channel of migration
6. Do’s and don’ts in the migration process
7. Training opportunities and requirement for the job
8. Checking of papers from BMET (Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training).
Economic and Social re-integration of the returnee migrant is another important issue particularly for the migrant workers. This may be facilitated through the following approaches:
1. SME information regarding sector selection, business formation and other operational info.
2. Information on micro credit facilities
3. Information on saving procedures
4. New job opportunities abroad
5. Relevant job information in the country
6. Various training opportunities for further skill development
Returnee migrants, those who have faced problems in the country of their workplace, assistance may be provided for reporting to police, filing complaints to BMET & special courts and liaison with law agencies.
Migration worker can play a pivotal role in the development of human resources with appropriate competence level. To achieve the target of faster national development, it is important to analyze and explore the potential of labor resources. It needs special emphasis to dedicate more public funds to skill development particularly for immigrates in the fiscal as well as in the perspective plan. To meet the future demand for skill training it is essential to encourage private sector and NGOs in a big way in the vocational training field. The focus of world economy has been changed from the cheap unskilled labor to highly skilled and organized workforces. In the coming decade, computerization is becoming an utmost importance. The international market for computer-related services is also expanding at an unprecedented rate. The nature and extent of skills in the labor force should change accordingly. The main thought is to be given on developing human resources through institutional and informal training. This also needs international recognition or certification of the training courses. With these views, skill development training program of women workers should be strengthened and be made effective to cater to the needs of the overseas market.
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