A hotline service established to provide comprehensive information to migrants and their communities was handed over to the Wage Earners' Welfare Board (WEWB) to be merged with the Probashbondhu Call Centre on Sunday.
With support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its implementing partner BRAC, the hotline service was established under "Bangladesh: Sustainable Reintegration and Improved Migration Governance (Prottasha) Project" funded by the European Union.
The 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, an IOM press release said.
At the function, Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment 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 it has a large young population and two million new entrants into the labour market each year, he said.
Access to information is a key to make informed decisions, Imran said, adding "The ministry has initiated many activities to provide information to migrants and aspirant migrants. The hotline is one such example".
Speaking at the event, Dr. Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, Secretary of the ministry, said the government has prioritised 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 the key to the success of this plan," he said.
Md Hamidur Rahman, Director General of WEWB, said: "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."
Bangladesh sends the sixth highest number of migrants abroad globally and is the eighth highest receiver of remittances. Around one million Bangladeshis go abroad every year and there are currently about 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 Centre in 2017 to help expatriate workers and their families with information.
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 centre to provide information services.