Wednesday, 13 February, 2008
DHAKA: Bangladesh's authorities said yesterday they had sent a first batch of workers to Romania to fill acute labour shortages created by an exodus of workers to lucrative jobs in Eastern Europe.
Some 100 workers have already flown to Romania, said Salim Reza, a director of the government's Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training. This is the first time our people have gone to an Eastern European nation to do jobs in factories, he said.
Hundreds of construction workers were going to be sent to Poland too, where there were also thought to be labour shortages, he said, adding the wheels were in motion to send workers to Canada and other developed nations as well.
Recruiting agency Al Abbas International, which found the jobs for the workers in Romania, said thousands more would go to Romania to work in the construction sector in the next few months.
The shortage has been created by the number of Romanians and Poles seeking work in other European countries such as Britain, Spain and Italy.
An estimated 5mn Bangladeshis work overseas in about 100 countries. Mostly unskilled labourers, they support their impoverished country's economy by sending cash home to their families each month.
In 2007 a record 832,000 people got jobs abroad but only about 600,000 were able to reach in time because of a shortage of flights out of the country.
Bangladeshi workers, who mostly take unskilled employment in the Gulf and Southeast Asia, last year sent home a record $6.56bn, equivalent to more than half the value of the country's annual exports.
Bangladesh is one of the world's poorest countries. Some 40% of its 144mn population manages to get by on a dollar a day.