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16 Mar 2024

Siam Sarower Jamil, The Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh: Non-Arabic speakers migrating to the Gulf receiving lower salaries, experts call for greater learning opportunities


Thousands of [Bangladeshi] workers like Rabiul migrate abroad every year without language education, mostly ending up with low-paying jobs. Many workers return home disappointed due to lower-than-expected salaries. 

However, those receiving government training and language skills do not face such issues and receive the expected pay...

Arabic is the primary language in [Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, the most popular] countries, yet there is no language training available for migrant workers. Consequently, they face difficulties receiving fair wages and encounter workplace challenges due to the language barrier. 

Although some limited opportunities for language training exist, particularly in urban areas, there are none at the local level, discouraging workers from learning the language before going abroad...

Dr Sowmit Chanda Joydip, migration expert and assistant professor at Brac University, emphasized the importance of language skills in the labour market. 

“Workers from the Philippines, India, and Sri Lanka earn more than Bangladeshi workers simply because they possess better language proficiency,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

Professor Tanzim Uddin Khan from the Department of International Relations at Dhaka University highlighted the trend of less educated and unskilled individuals migrating abroad from Bangladesh due to a lack of government-managed language education opportunities. 

He stressed the need for the government to take major initiatives to ensure workers acquire language skills before going abroad.