Labour ministers of 11 Asian manpower exporting countries will meet here in October this year under Colombo Process to discuss various obstacles on overseas labour employment and share the best practices in improving the condition of migrant workers.
The Colombo process was conceived as a response to calls from 11 Asian migrant labour sending countries to discuss ways to protect migrant workers from exploitation and ensure their rights.
The member states of the Colombo process are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.
Bangladesh took over the chairmanship of the Colommbo Process from Indonesia in December 2004. The first consultation meeting was held in Sri Lankan capital Colombo in 2003, which was followed by second in Philippines capital Manila and third in Indonesian Bali.
"We are giving prime importance to the meeting as for the first time such a high level regional consultative process meeting on labour migration is being held in Bangladesh," Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Engineer Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain told at a briefing after holding an inter- ministerial preparatory meeting at the secretariat here.
Apart from the member states, representatives from labour recipient countries Bahrain, Italy, Kuwait, Malaysia, Qatar, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Libya will also attend the ministerial meeting as observers, he said.
The Minister said the main focus of this year's meeting would be on ensuring social rights of migrant workers in line with the theme 'Migration with Dignity'.
During the ministerial meeting, Engineer Mosharraf said, the member countries will try to identify the major problems in sending manpower as well as ensuring their rights in the foreign land.
"We will also try to reach a consensus for taking a unified move to the labour exporting market with mutual understanding so that everyone's interests would be secured and our labours could live with dignity abroad," he said.
Side by side, we will also share our opinions with the observer countries to understand what kind of compliances they expects in receiving labours from outsides, he said.
The minister also said Bangladesh would consult with other countries how it can maintain the minimum migration cost in the country.
At the end of the ministerial meeting a Dhaka Declaration would be adopted by the member stats, Expatriate Welfare Secretary Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan said.
The ministerial meeting will be held from 20 to 21 October while a meeting of senior officials of the members countries will be held on October 19 as per the final preparation for the ministerial meeting.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the ministerial meeting, he said.
International Organization for Migration (IOM), who acts as a secretariat for the Colombo Process will provide support to the government for holding the meeting.