WARBE Development Foundation

In cooperation with our project partner WARBE Development Foundation we promote safe labor migration in Bangladesh by improving and strengthening the legal framework at national level. In order to make the migration cycle just and dignified, we raise the topic amongst state actors to strengthen migrant workers’ rights.

Bangladesh - a country marked by poverty, violence and whose history is closely linked to migration. Labor opportunities for the local population are scarce and there is a chronical shortage of well-educated workers. Since they have little chance in the local labor market at home, many opt to offer their labor abroad. Thus, it is not surprising that around 555,880 Bangladeshis leave the country every year to work abroad. Mostly their quest leads them into the Gulf States or to Malaysia. These migrant workers often have barely completed elementary school.

Migration – a chance or a risk?

At a national level, migration has many benefits: In 2015, migrants returned $ 15.31 billion through legal channels, which accounts for approximately 11 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This money is urgently needed in the families and for the economy of the country. Migration has become an important aspect of economic development in Bangladesh and has even reduced poverty in the country by 6 percent. In addition, the work experience abroad offers the chance that the population will be trained in certain occupations. Bangladesh’s government is hoping that the returning migrants pass on their newly developed skills to those who stayed behind. However, at the individual level, migration often entails more risks than opportunities.

Due to the rapid increase in migration in recent decades, migratory experiences have increased in informal ways. Traffickers and smugglers are making a profit from this - much to the dread of the insecure migrants. Since they hardly know about the official regulations, the migrants are dependent on the middlemen, which usually demand horrendous agency and travel fees. Many migrant workers are therefore highly indebted even before they arrive in the host country. Arrived at the new place of work and life, the emigrated Bangladeshis usually have to live under precarious working conditions. All too often, their rights, which they themselves are not even aware of, are trampled on. No official employment contracts, no health insurance and daily overtime work are part of everyday working life. Since most Bangladeshis are illegally staying in the host country, they barely find their way to the police. Instead, they fall into a cycle of exploitation and abuse.

Strengthening the rights of migrant workers

In order to break this vicious circle and improve the situation of migrant workers, we have been working together with our partner WARBE Development Foundation since 2012. Founded by returning Bangladeshi migrant workers, WARBE Development Foundation has since become one of the key players in the country's migration policy. Together, we work to make migration routes safer and raise awareness of migrants' rights. The majority of migrants leave the country out of necessity without the required information about migration routes. Road and radio campaigns should raise awareness about the crucial steps of migration and provide relevant information to the population. In addition to our activities with potential migrants, we also focus on the relatives who stay behind. Through special training, they learn to handle the remittances sustainably and to use them efficiently. At national level, state actors must be given more responsibility to improve the situation of migrants. It is not possible to stop labor migration in Bangladesh, as it has established itself as a strong economic factor for the country. Taking all this into consideration, it is even more important to work with the local police, courts and other state bodies to raise awareness of human rights also amongst these actors. For this purpose, we lecture employees of the authorities in training and promote the cooperation between the positions.   

Only through cooperation of civil society and state level migration can be made more secure. Together with WARBE Development Foundation, we work to ensure that laws are no longer just theoretical constructs and actually being implemented and thus giving migrants back their human dignity.


Project information:

Project: Promoting Migrants Rights and Livelihood of Potential and Returnee Migrants and their Families

Implementation areas: Dhaka

Partner: WARBE Development Foundation

Target Group: Potential and returnee migrants, spouses of migrants


- Lobbyism and advocacy

- Awareness raising and networking of state actors

- Support of safe migration and prevention of human trafficking

- Providing information about safe migration in service centers

Implementation period: 2017-2019

Budget:  35.000 Euro p.a.

Donor: BMZ



WARBE Development Foundation
House No. 381 (3rd floor),
Road-28, New DOHS, Mohakhali
Dhaka-11206, Bangladesh
Tel: +88-(0)29885436

Web: www.warbe.org