Application of Migration Policy for Decent Work of Migrant Workers

Project completed

Men and women who opt for migrating abroad for employment will benefit from better protection through pre-departure orientation, the application of international standard contracts and access to social security/welfare. The project will improve migration governance in Bangladesh by strengthening the rather weak policy and legislative framework and by building the capacity of the government to expand and improve services for migrant workers.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Migration generally (development aspects and partnerships)
Public sector policy
Labour migration
01.01.2019 - 31.07.2022
CHF  3’996’545

International labour migration is a strategy for Bangladesh to work its way out of poverty and help the young labour force to obtain employment overseas. With 2 million young people joining the labour force every year but only 400,000 jobs being created annually, Bangladesh faces worsening income inequalities and access to resources.

Migration is important for the economy of Bangladesh: more than 7% of the labour force is employed in countries of the Global South and remittances account for about 8% of the Gross Domestic Product. However, migrants face frequent violations of their human rights. Many of these violations occur because the legal framework for migration does not adequately protect migrants. Also, government agencies lack the capacity to provide sufficient services to men and women who migrate.  

The promotion of a stable, economically and socially inclusive Bangladesh is in the interest of Switzerland with a view to peace, security and prosperity in the densely populated region of South Asia. Based on its values, Switzerland has an interest that international migration is regular, secure, respects human dignity and the human rights of migrants.

Objectives The goal is to support the reform agenda of labour migration governance and making systemic changes through provision of technical assistance, to ensure improved human rights protection of Bangladeshi migrant workers.
Target groups

The primary target beneficiaries of the project are Bangladeshi migrants in the countries of destination as well as potential Bangladeshi migrants who will emigrate from Bangladesh. It is expected that more than 2 million Bangladeshis will depart from the country in the project period, and at least 50% (i.e. 1 million migrants) will enjoy better protection of human and labour rights, once the policy is operational and the relevant institutions strengthened. 

Officials from public and private institutions dealing with labour migration are also targeted through this project. 

Medium-term outcomes
  • Men and women migrant workers are better protected through improved policy.
  • Public and private institutions contribute to safe migration and decent work for men and women migrants.

Expected results:  

  • The Government of Bangladesh adopts and implements remaining legislation and rules pertaining to labour migration
  • Bangladeshi officials are trained on  International Labour Standards principles and good practices in labour migration in Memorandum of Understanding and Bilateral Agreements
  • The government and recruitment agencies are able to improve the scope and quality of services, such as ethical recruitment and providing guidelines to returnee migrants, for effective use of remittances.
  • The government is able to provide skills training and assess them (in line with internationally recognized occupational titles).

Results from previous phases:  

This is the second part of the 5-year project that was planned in 2016, but had to be split into two phases due to administrative reasons. No major changes have been made to project logic, expected results and outputs.

The Overseas Employment Policy and Migrants’ Act was prepared with support of the project in Phase 1, and the Policy was approved by Parliament in Phase 2. Out of four rules drafted by the project, pertaining to the Policy and Act, one has been approved till date. An additional Welfare Act was also supported by the project for drafting and enactment.

Bangladesh government officials have been trained on the International Convention for Rights of Migrant Workers and have presented the first report to the UN Committee on the protection of the rights of migrant workers (under the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) Council in 2017. This has ensured that the government is more accountable for the protection of migrant workers.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • International Labor Organization

Other partners
Coordination with other projects and actors

International Labour Migration Statistics Database for South Asia (ILO regional project)

Pilot Project on Skill Development, Certification, Upgrading and Recognition (United Arab Emirates and Kuwait and GPMD), Knomad (GPMD and World Bank)

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’996’545 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    3’826’828 Total project since first phase Swiss budget CHF   7’611’526 Budget inclusive project partner CHF   12’300’000
Project phases

Phase 3 01.01.2019 - 31.07.2022   (Completed)

Phase 2 01.04.2016 - 30.06.2019   (Completed) Phase 1 01.05.2010 - 31.10.2015   (Completed)