Strengthened migration hotline services in Bangladesh
Last Updated on March 23, 2022
The hotline service established to provide comprehensive information to migrants and their communities, supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its implementing partner BRAC, under ‘Bangladesh: Sustainable Reintegration and Improved Migration Governance (Prottasha)’ project funded by the European Union, was handed over to the Wage Earners’ Welfare Board (WEWB) to be merged with the Probashbondhu Call Centre.
On 20 March, a handover ceremony was held at the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment (MoEWOE) which saw the Prottasha hotline service transferred to WEWB and merged with the Probashbondhu Call Centre. This handover and merger will enable the WEWB to provide more holistic and comprehensive information to both aspirant migrants and returnees, promoting safe, orderly, and regular migration and related migration services
Bangladesh sends the sixth highest number of migrants abroad globally and is the eighth highest receiver of remittances. Approximately one million Bangladeshis go abroad every year, and there are currently approximately 13 million Bangladesh nationals working overseas. These Bangladeshi migrants contribute to the national economy through remittances.
To provide information to aspirant and returned migrants and their families on safe migration and reintegration, the Prottasha project established a hotline service in 2019. Similarly, considering the contribution of expatriate workers and the importance of providing information to them, WEWB established the Probashbondhu Call Center in 2017 to help expatriate workers and their families with information.
The Prottasha Hotline service is run by the service provider Pendulum Motion and will be handed over to WEWB and merged with the Probashbondhu Call Center to provide more comprehensive information support on a 24-hour basis.
During the handover ceremony, Minister Imran Ahmad said, “international migration and remittances have played an important role to the economy of Bangladesh. Migration continues to be an important area for Bangladesh as we have a large young population and two million new entrants into the labour market each year.”
“Access to information is key to make informed decisions. The Ministry has initiated many activities to provide information to migrants and aspirant migrants. The hotline is one such example,” he added.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, Secretary of MoEWOE added, “The Government of Bangladesh has prioritized migration as a key area of national development. The 8th Five-year Plan includes a 10-point agenda to ensure a safe, orderly, and regular migration. Information dissemination is key to the success of this plan.”
Md. Hamidur Rahman, Director General of WEWB, remarked, “we from the WEWB are tirelessly working for the welfare of our expatriate workers and their families. The Probashbondhu Call Center is an initiative that provides migration related information to people. Merging Probashbondhu with the Prottasha hotline service will strengthen our capacity to provide better, more holistic information support.”
“Migrants play a significant role in Bangladesh’s national development with their remittances. However, there are some challenges, including irregular migration and human trafficking. Information plays a critical role in addressing these challenges. I thank the Government of Bangladesh and the Delegation of the European Union for supporting the establishment of the Prottasha hotline service to provide critical information to migrants and their communities,” said Fathima Nusrath Ghazzali, Officer in Charge, IOM Bangladesh.
Charles Whiteley, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh in a statement said, “migration is a complex phenomenon comprising compelling issues and challenges. The European Union is happy to support the Ministry and WEWB in establishing the Prottasha hotline service that provides information to migrants so that they can better understand safe migration and make informed migration decisions. I am also pleased to see that this initiative will be merged with the WEWB’s hotline service center, ensuring continuation and sustainability”
The Probashbondhu Call Centre provides all necessary information on migration and can be accessed via four telephone numbers. Anyone in Bangladesh can seek information by contacting the local number (08000102030) at no cost. Callers from home and abroad can also connect with the center through the numbers (09610102030,01794333333, 01784333333) at any time. Nine trained staff members are currently deployed at the call center to provide information services.