On international labour migration

Emigration Ordinance

Bangladesh’s entire migration management has been envisioned under the regulatory framework of the Emigration Ordinance 1982. This replaced the previously existing colonial era Emigration Act from 1922. It provides the legal provisions for regulating the recruitment and placement of migrant workers from Bangladesh.

Overseas Employment Policy

Bangladesh adopted its Overseas Employment Policy in 2006. The objective of this is to govern the overseas employment sector and to ensure the welfare of Bangladeshi workers abroad. It focuses on protecting rights and safety for workers while abroad as well as the social protection of families that remain behind. It also strengthens the focus on preventing misconduct in the recruitment process and on building the institutional infrastructure needed for the policy’s implementation.

Overseas Employment and Migrants’ Act

Bangladesh’s Overseas Employment and Migrants’ Act 2013 is designed to promote opportunities for overseas employment and to establish a safe and fair system of migration, ensuring the rights and welfare of migrant workers. Its primary contributions come in the form of regulations of the recruitment process.

Ratification of the international migration convention

In 1998, Bangladesh signed the UN’s International Convention on the Protection of Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the treaty that empowers labour migrant-sending countries in the negotiation process. Bangladesh ratified it in 2011.

Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training

Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) is the Bangladeshi government’s specialised agency for the planning and implementation of different adopted strategies for the utilisation of the country’s human resources. The agency was established in 1976. Its core functions entail programmes for upskilling migrants and facilitating the export of human resources. It runs workers’ training for different sectors through its Technical Training Centres in various parts of Bangladesh.

Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment

In 2002, Bangladesh set up a new designated ministry, the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE), dedicated to international migration. The functions of this were previously performed by the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) within the Ministry of Labour. MEWOE is mainly responsible for implementing the rules framed under the Overseas Employment and Migrants’ Act 2013.

Migrant grievance redress

Bangladeshi authorities resolve the grievances of migrant workers through a formal arbitration process. Bangladesh’s Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) receives complaints through its online complaint submission mechanism. A designated Wage Earners Welfare Board has an online service named Probash Bondhu (‘Expatriate Friends’) Call Centre that provides counselling and complaint-receiving services.

Migrant welfare bank

In 2011, Bangladesh established the Probashi Kallyan Bank (‘Expatriates Welfare Bank’) to provide low-cost loans to workers aspiring to go abroad and financial assistance to returnee migrants to invest in productive activities.

Welfare fund for migrant workers

Bangladesh has created a fund for the social security and welfare of migrant workers. This is used to enhance the skills of outgoing workers, to introduce service desks for migrants at international airports, to support migrant workers at their destination through respective Bangladeshi embassies in the host country, to cover the costs of repatriating the bodies of migrant workers who die overseas and to compensate families for their loss.

Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited

Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited (BOESL) is a state-owned overseas recruitment company in Bangladesh. This was among the first formalised recruitment firms, established in 1984 – when international labour migration was starting to become a mainstream sector. It takes on a direct recruitment role, in order to create competition with private recruiters and reduce the cost of recruitment. It functions with a ‘no profit from workers’ strategy.


On community and livelihood

Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy

Bangladesh first formulated a policy to promote community media, the Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy, in 2008. This aims to reach the unreached and to give voice to voiceless grassroots people. Its objective is to decentralise the media, aligned with Bangladesh’s national development agenda of decentralisation. Under this policy framework, people at community level are to be informed of the country’s development issues. The policy is largely concerned with non-profit radio broadcasting for local communities. Acknowledging community radio’s social and grassroots transformation potential, Bangladesh reformed the Community Radio Policy in 2017.

Agriculture Policy

Agriculture has acted as the base for Bangladesh’s economy in its developmental years. Bangladesh’s rural areas make up 63% of the country, with agriculture prominent in these zones. The sector employs 41% of the people and contributes 14% to total gross domestic product (GDP). Bangladesh formulated the first National Agriculture Policy in 1999. This was revised in 2010, 2013 and 2018 as a result of dynamic shifts within the sector. The policy is designed to slash poverty and ensure food security. Its main features are increasing crop output, profitability and employment in rural regions. It lays out methods for protecting agricultural lands, slowing biodiversity loss and dealing with natural disasters such as droughts and floods that threaten agriculture resources. The policy also envisions a renewed ‘green revolution.’

Agricultural Extension Policy

Bangladesh formulated its maiden agricultural extension policy in 1996, titled the New Agricultural Extension Policy. This was framed to speed up the crops, fisheries and forestry technologies distribution process. The principal goal was to facilitate technology transfer into Bangladesh’s agriculture system via the participation of development partners. Bangladesh adopted a renewed Agricultural Extension Policy in 2020. This focuses on tech integration through agricultural research, mechanised farming tools and Internet of Things-based production systems.

Agricultural Mechanisation Policy

Bangladesh devised its first farm mechanisation policy, the National Agricultural Mechanisation Policy, in 2020. The policy envisions a transition to efficient and commercial agriculture through mechanisation and ensures sustainable food and nutrition security. The main objectives are to reduce the cost of farming, upskill agricultural labour, increase cropping intensity, strengthen research and development and incubate local agro-machinery manufacturing.

Labour Law and Policy 

Bangladesh’s labour laws and policies are framed through constitutional provisions. Bangladesh’s constitution guarantees workers’ welfare and the dignity of labour. It also guarantees employment at a reasonable wage and the right to social security. Bangladesh formulated its National Labour Policy in 2012. This aims to ensure an investment-friendly atmosphere and create a productive, exploitation-free workplace for citizens. Bangladesh enacted its Labour Law in 2006 and amended this in 2013. A detailed set of legal rules for the law, the Bangladesh Labour Rules, was formulated in 2015. The policies, laws and rules are in place to ensure the rights of workers. Bangladesh also formulated the National Occupational Health and Safety Policy in 2013 and National Child Labour Elimination Policy in 2010 in order to ensure a safe environment for workers and address the issue of child labour.

Skills Development Policy

Bangladesh formulated its National Skills Development Policy in 2011. The policy is the cornerstone of the country’s technical and vocational education and training development initiatives. It encapsulates demand-driven skills training programmes, increased private sector participation, curriculum redesign and assessments and apprenticeships system.

National Skills Development Authority

Bangladesh established an agency, the National Skills Development Authority (NSDA), to oversee skills development in 2019. To strengthen its governance, it has been placed under the umbrella of the Prime Minister’s Office. NSDA has been mandated to implement the National Skills Development Policy 2011. Its predecessor was a less-empowered body called the National Skills Development Council, which was an agency under the Ministry of Labour.

Monetary Policies of Bangladesh

The monetary policies of Bangladesh are formulated by the independent central bank, Bangladesh Bank. Bangladesh Bank describes the monetary policy stance as supporting the government’s policies and initiatives on economic growth and poverty reduction. The policies are intended to maintain price stability, control inflation and generate jobs. The Monetary Policies are formulated yearly and are published in a document, the Monetary Policy Statement, for the fiscal year.

Household Income and Expenditure Survey

A major segment of Bangladesh’s economy is in the informal sector, which means that accurate income data is difficult to record. As a result, a complex national household survey, the Household Income and Expenditure Surveys (HIES) is carried out roughly every five years. The HIES provides income and expenditure data on households that is crucial for formulating data-driven policies. The survey findings cover income distribution patterns, income brackets, income expenditure relationships and wealth inequality. The HIES data has deep implications in terms of shaping the economic route of the country.

Inflation estimates

The centralised data-collecting agency, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), calculates inflation. BBS considers the International Monetary Fund definition of inflation in publishing inflation rates. In Bangladesh, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the determinant of inflation calculation. BBS releases the national, urban and rural inflation rate monthly as measured by the CPI. To compute the CPI, it collects data on the prices of goods and services from main markets across the country.

National accounting and GDP estimates

National accounting is a widely used instrument to monitor and evaluate the macroeconomy of a country. Accordingly, Bangladesh’s national accounts statistics reflect the macroeconomic situation and sector-wise performance of the economy.

A specialised national accounting wing within the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) publishes national accounts statistics – annualised estimates such as GDP – once in a fiscal year. Bangladesh’s national accounts system takes inputs from various sectoral wings of BBS – for example the agricultural wing and the industry wing.

GDP estimates for Bangladesh are compiled using both ‘production’ and ‘expenditure’ approaches. Data sources for these are extrapolated from myriad time series surveys by the government – namely, population censuses, agriculture censuses, industrial production surveys, government budgets, household income expenditure surveys and balance of payment statistics.

The key macroeconomic indicators from national accounts that are instrumental in policy-making are GDP, gross national income, savings, investment and consumption.


Photo ©️ Mahmud Hossain Opu