Category Archives: Human Resources, Skills, Manpower and Remittance

oDesk to help transfer freelancers’ payments

oDesk to help transfer freelancers’ payments
Senior official of the US-based company speaks on online payment system

Matt Cooper

Mamun Abdullah

Bangladeshi freelancers will be able to receive payments in their local accounts from their US clients directly through the accounts of oDesk, a global marketplace that helps businesses hire, manage and pay remote freelancers or teams.

oDesk is now working to develop a money transfer system for its Bangladeshi freelancers, said a top official of the company.

As the Bangladeshi freelancers are facing problems in getting payments from their clients in the US, oDesk is introducing the system, said Matt Cooper, vice president of marketplace operation division of the company, in an interview with The Daily Star.

He said, “An efficient payment system is the key to doing online work successfully.”

Cooper came to Dhaka last week to participate in an “appreciation day” for the freelancers of the company in Bangladesh.

oDesk is working on how easily the payment could be reached to the Bangladeshi contractors from their US client institutions, he said.

“No inter-media would be required and the fees are attractive for transferring the payments,” Cooper said, adding that the service will be available soon in Bangladesh.

Cooper earlier came to Dhaka at the end of last year to attend a “digital fair” — e-Asia — and came to know about the payment-related problems of the Bangladeshi freelancers, he said.

Bangladeshi freelancers have already urged the government to take initiative to open Paypal’s operations in the country. Paypal is a global online payment organisation based in the US.

After his first visit to Bangladesh, Cooper also met the chief executive officer of Paypal and requested them to start their operations in Bangladesh.

A group of officials of Paypal would come to Dhaka within this year to look for scope to work here, Cooper said. But before that, oDesk will work to facilitate money transfer from its own bank account, he said

In March, a member of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) went to California, the headquarters of Paypal, to request them to start their operations in Bangladesh.

oDesk offers employment opportunities globally and independent freelancer contractors can work with their clients through oDesk all over the world, said Cooper.

Maximum works are technical. About the works he said, 60 percent revenues of oDesk come from software development, while the rest are from search engine optimisation, data entry, market research and translations with a wide range of non-technical jobs.

Cooper said 30 percent of Bangladeshi contractors work for search engine optimisation, while 12 percent for data entry, 8 percent for software development and 6 percent for web research. Beyond that, a large segment of works is non-technical, he said.

“Growth of Bangladesh as a back-office is excellent,” Cooper said.

In 2009, Bangladeshis freelancers did 2 percent of the total work of oDesk, which now rose to 12 percent, said Cooper.

“It’s tremendous growth. Every year the growth rate almost doubled.”

A lot of young and highly educated Bangladeshi freelancers are working for oDesk.

Describing the success story of a Bangladeshi freelancer, Cooper said an employee of a private company in Bangladesh had been facing hardship in bearing her family expenses. Then she contacted oDesk and is now earning five times higher than she earns from the current job.

There are hundreds of such stories, he said, adding that some of the freelancers in Bangladesh even earn $100 per hour.

“You can earn $10, $15 or $20 an hour through online jobs.”

There are about 50,000 regular freelancers with oDesk, while the number of its registered freelancers is about 1.9 million globally, he said.

There are 150,000 registered contractors from Bangladesh. Among them 8,000 are working actively.

Bangladeshi freelancers earn $15 to $20 per hour on an average for technical works, while $5 to $10 for administrative or non-technical works.

But some of the top freelancers in the US earn even $150 per hour, said Cooper.

Most of the Bangladeshi freelancers’ average age is between 25 and 35 years with university education, and most of them do the work of data entry, while the rest do the technical jobs.

oDesk wants to see more Bangladeshi freelancers in technical works such as software development.

Bangladesh is competing with India, Pakistan and some eastern European countries. “It definitely indicates the higher quality of the Bangladeshi freelancers,” he said.

There are two types of freelancers with oDesk: individuals and small groups. But most of the freelancers working with oDesk are individuals, Cooper said.

According to the website of oDesk, more than 250,000 businesses use oDesk including Wikipedia, Hewlett-Packard, NBC, Travelocity and Aol. It also works with some of the fortune 500 companies.

Low-cost and high-speed internet should be made available across the country to help more people enter online jobs, Cooper said.

He also stressed the need for a friendly regulatory environment for easy transfer of money and low-cost computers so more people are involved in this type of work.


‘Bangladesh may get $14b as remittance, this year’

‘Bangladesh may get $14b as remittance, this year’
Author / Source : Staff Reporter

DHAKA, MAR 25: The government is contemplating to reform three-decade old Emigration Ordinance to insert more rights to the migrant workers. And, to facilitate international employment, the government is also setting up a migrants’ bank, according to Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, MP. The minister also emphasised policy support to migrant workers while speaking at a business luncheon meeting of Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI), as the chief guest at a local hotel on Sunday.

In efforts to reduce migration costs, facilitate migration loan and encourage (remittance) investments, a migrants’ bank will be set up, pointed out the minister.

“Manpower is our asset. We have received over US$ 12 billion remittance in 2011,” Mosharraf said.

Although foreign workers from Bangladesh make up just 2.8 per cent of Bangladesh’s population, they contribute to more than 13 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Remittance was second-biggest source of foreign income after ready-made garments in 2010-2011, the minister added.

According to the World Bank, Bangladesh is one of the top 10 remittance recipient countries globally.

Cost to migrate from Bangladesh is still very high comparing to other countries and step should be taken to bring it lower, minister said, and added that initiative is needed for a minimum five years of job agreement for migrant workers with host countries.

To encourage migrant workers to remit money through banks, he suggested that Bangladesh Bank allows migrants to send home up to $ 500 at free of charge.

He said majority of migrants from Bangladesh, approximately 63 per cent of them, are less skilled and semi skilled. The Middle East is the largest destination for Bangladeshi migrant workers, approximately some 80 per cent. However, Southeast Asia is also emerging as an important destination. Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) has already approved Tk 1,000 crore funds for setting up another 36 institutions for skill development of migrants, he added.

The government has taken some measures to attract host countries so that they employ more Bangladeshi immigrants. To explore new markets for Bangladeshi workers, high level visits have been undertaken to Romania, Iraq, Mali and Libya to mention a few. The government is also opening Bangladesh missions in some of these prospective countries.

Similar efforts are also underway with other East European and Central Asian countries. And, conventional markets in Africa and North America are also being pursued.

Furthermore, the Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry has also started exploring and diversifying into new sectors, such as care giving, nursing and other medical professions, as well as actively promoting women labour migration.

The minister thanked Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry for organising this important meeting.

While welcoming the guests, Syed Nurul Islam, president of BMCCI highlighted the role of immigrants in the country’s economic development.

He said over 8 million Bangladeshi people are working in different countries and among them huge numbers are living outside as regular immigrants. If everything goes well, Bangladesh will get over $14 billion in this year, he hoped. This will be an enormous achievement for Bangladesh, he observed.

The programme was also addressed by the special guests–Dr. Zafar Ahmed Khan, secretary of Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas and Employment, and C M Koyes Sami, managing director, Probashi  Kallyan Bank.

Remittance hits 10-year high

Remittance hits 10-year high
Migrant workers remit more to cash in on falling taka against dollar

Star Business Report

Remittance inflows hit a decade high of $12.17 billion in the just concluded year, offering the government a much-needed cushion against dwindling foreign exchange reserves and exchange rate volatility.

Remittances grew 10 percent in 2011 from the previous year.

According to data from Bangladesh Bank, remittances rose 26 percent to $1.14 billion in December, compared to the previous month.

“An increase in the outflow of workers and the depreciation of the taka have bolstered the inflow,” the central bank said in a statement yesterday.

A migrant worker now gets Tk 82 for a US dollar, up from Tk 70 a year ago, according to treasury officials.

The latest growth in remittances comes as more workers are joining the bandwagon of more than 7.6 million Bangladeshi migrants, 80 percent of whom working in the oil-rich Middle East.

During 2011, the outflow of migrant workers surged 45 percent to a two-year high at 568,000 due to opening of new jobs.

Key Middle East countries need more foreign workers now as they are taking more development projects, inspired by high oil prices at around $100 a barrel.

Between the years 2002 and 2008, remittance earnings were below $10 billion.

The inflow crossed the double-digit mark in 2009, buoyed by a record outflow of migrants during 2007 and 2008 in the wake of a construction boom in the Gulf states.

After 2008, the outflow of new migrants slumped due to a slowdown in demand. But it rose again last year, enabling Bangladesh to emerge as the eighth largest remittance earning country, according to a World Bank survey released last month.

The growth in remittances, the second biggest foreign currency earning sector after exports, gives a much needed cushion to the government to face a rising pressure on the country’s balance of payments (BoP).

“It gives a breathing space. The growth is very much needed considering the falling foreign exchange reserve situation and volatility in exchange rate,” said Zahid Hussain, a senior economist at the World Bank’s Bangladesh office.

“The growth will help policymakers face the pressure on the balance of payments,” he said.

Hussain linked the spiral in remittances to a rise in the outbound workers.

He said this growth should continue at least in the next six months.

“But a deep and protracted recession is bad news for us from the perspective of remittances earnings,” said Hussain, fearing that the deepening of Eurozone crisis might lead to a decline in oil prices and thus hurt the economies in the Middle East.

“There is a risk whether contracts of the old workers will be renewed if the economies of these worker-employing countries slow down.”

He said a portion of workers who left the country in the recent months would begin sending money by the end of the current year.

But he suggested that the earnings per worker should be increased for long-term sustainability in the growth of remittances, which account for 11 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

“It is important to focus on sending more skilled workers to raise earnings per worker,” said Hussain.

“Otherwise it will be tough to retain the pace of growth.”

He said the demand and wages for skilled workers will go up with the development of host countries.

1.1 billion dollar remittance in one month

1.1 billion dollar remittance in one month
Author / Source : Staff Reporter

Dhaka, Jan 2: The country received $1.1 billion remittance in December, 2011 from non- resident Bangladeshis amid the prevailing global economic crisis, according to data of Bangladesh Bank.

The amount is the highest ever the country received in a single month. The previous highest record was $1102.98 million in March, 2011.

The remittance earned in December 2011 was 25.92 per cent higher than that of November the same year and 18.09 per cent higher than that of December 2009, the BB statistics shows.

During the first half of the current fiscal, the total remittance stood at $6 billion ($6065.56m) while the total amount of remittance in the year 2011 was $12 billion or $12,165.25 million, according to the central bank data.

The amount earned through remittance in the year 2011 ($12,165.25 million) was 10.55 per cent higher than that of the year 2010 ($11004.73 million).
It crossed $11 billion ($11650.31m) mark in fiscal 2010-2011.

In July, the country received remittance worth $1015.58 million, $1101.79mn in August, $855.44mn in September, $1039.48mn in October, $908.79mn in November and $1144.38mn in December this year.

The data show that the lowest remittance inflow was recorded in September with only $855.44mn.

According to a central bank report titled the ‘Achievement in the banking sector in the last three years of the present government’, the remittance received in the last three years was about $31.8 billion against $9.6 billion that came during 2002-2004, posting a 332 per cent growth.

The foreign currency reserve stood at $10.91 billion in fiscal 2010-11 while it was $2.71 billion during the fiscal 2003-04.

Economists said the money sent by the expatriates played a major role in alleviating poverty.

Inward remittance rebounded in October on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha, as it increased by 23 per cent over that a month ago, according to data provided by the central bank.
Remittance inflow dropped significantly in September compared to that of August last year.

In the first four months of the current fiscal year, remittance inflow marked a rise by 11.72 per cent to $4 billion over the same period of the previous fiscal year, according to the central bank data.

$877m remittance sent in 3 weeks$877m-remittance-sent-in-3-weeks_435_1_3_1_3.html

$877m remittance sent in 3 weeks
Staff Correspondent

The country fetched total US$ 877.21 million remittance in the last three weeks of the current month.

Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd (IBBL), a private commercial bank, channelled US$ 210.05 million, the highest amount in the said period while the inflow of foreign exchange through four state-owned commercial banks, Sonali, Agrani, Janata and Rupali Bank totalled US$ 230.91 million.

The Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) sent US$ 78.84 million through Sonali Bank, while it was US$ 85.03 million through Agrani Bank, US$ 60.83 million through Janata Bank and US$ 6.21 million through Rupali Bank.

Among the specialised banks, Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB) has channelled US$ 8.98 million.

The remittance sent through nine foreign banks totalled US$ 9.75 million in the period while that through 30 private commercial banks was US$ 627.57 million.

Remittances from S Arabia hits $ 1371.34m in July-Nov

Remittances from S Arabia hits $ 1371.34m in July-Nov

Bangladesh fetched its highest remittance of US$ 1371.34 million from Saudi Arabia during July-November period of the current fiscal (2011-12), reports UNB.

The statistics available from Bangladesh Bank showed that remittance from Bangladeshi wage earners abroad totaled $ 4927.74 million during the July-November period, a growth of 7.56 per cent over the $4581.43 million of the corresponding period in the last fiscal (2010-11).

Overseas remittance from the wage earners showed a positive trend in November this fiscal with $ 1591.24 million, registering 2.40 per cent growth over $ 1553.88 million during the same month of last fiscal.

The central bank data showed the second highest remittance for the July-November period as $ 897.01 million from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), followed by $ 604.51 million from USA, $ 497.62 million from Kuwait and $391.23 million from the UK.

Besides, remittance earnings for the five-month period totaled $314.15 million from Malaysia, $125.30 million from Italy, $ 146.00 million from Oman, $ 131.26 million from Qatar, $92.01 million from Singapore and $97.09 million from Bahrain.

After maintaining a steady growth over the years, Bangladesh’s remittance earnings from the Middle-East (M-E) countries dropped during the last fiscal, amid political unrest there and a freeze on manpower import.

A total of $7215.53 million in remittances was sent home by Bangladeshi workers from the eight M-E countries in the last fiscal (2010-11), recording slight fall of $ 7.09 million over $7222.62 million during the corresponding period in the previous fiscal (2009-10).

Bangladesh received $ 11650.32 million from the wage earners’ remittance in the last fiscal, registering a growth of 6.3 per cent. It received $ 10987.4 million in remittance in the previous fiscal (2009-10).

The central bank figures showed that during the last fiscal (2010-11), Bangladesh received the highest remittance of $ 3290.03 million from Saudi Arabia, followed by $ 2002.63 million from UAE, $ 1075.75 million from Kuwait, $ 334.31 million from Oman, $ 319.36 million from Qatar, $ 185.93 million from Bahrain, and $ 5.20 million from Libya.

Presently, about 70 lakh Bangladeshis are working in different countries of the world – most them employed in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Libya, Malaysia, Singapore, UK and USA.

Manpower export rises by 40pc

Manpower export rises by 40pc
Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka

The country has witnessed a 40 per cent growth in overseas labour markets as about 5.5 lakh local workers went abroad with employment this year compared with 3.9 lakh in 2010.

‘Till today this year around 5.5 lakh workers went abroad that might be nearly six lakh by the last two weeks of the month,’ expatriate welfare and overseas employment secretary Zafar Ahmed Khan told a news conference at the National Press Club on the eve of International Migrants Day.

He said the reason behind the growth was that the government had put its sincere efforts in finding new destinations as well as unlocking the closed overseas labour markets.

‘We have able to start the process of legalising our workers in Malaysia, to unlock Korean market as well as to send workers to some new countries like Japan, Lebanon and Mauritius this year,’ he said.

Admitting that the cost of migration from Bangladesh is comparatively higher than the neighbouring countries, the secretary said they were working with all stakeholders for bringing down the migration cost.

A ministerial committee is working to declare the ceiling of maximum migration cost in a way so that Bangladeshi workers could get back their migration expenses with their first three months salaries in the foreign lands.

‘After declaration of maximum migration cost from the government, no manpower recruiting agency can export workers beyond the government fixed rate,’ he said.

He said the government had established Expatriate Welfare Bank in a mission to finance as well as to check harassment of both intended and working Bangladeshi overseas workers.

The bank, marked as one of the major success of the present government in ensuring welfare of the expatriates, provides loans to the intending overseas workers on the basis of mortgage against job.

Khan said the government had able to bring back 38,000 Bangladeshi workers from war torn Libya in shortest possible time and provided them Tk 50,000 for rehabilitating.

Bangladesh observes International Migrants Day as elsewhere in the world today with the call for ensuring save migration for economic development.

The government has chalked a two-day programme in the capital, all districts and upazilas as well as all foreign missions to observe the day.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the national programme marking the day at Bangabandhu International conference Centre in the capital at 10:00am.

Expatriate welfare and overseas employment minister Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain will chair the inaugural session while foreign minister Dipu Moni will speak as special guest.

A job fair participating by some foreign employers and local recruiting agencies would be held at the venues. Apart from the recruiting agencies, different migration right protection and social welfare organisations will also display their services at the fair to create awareness on safe migration.

Earlier, a colourful rally will be brought out from the south corner of Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban leading 8:00am.

On December 4, 2000, the UN General Assembly, taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, proclaimed December 18 as the International Migrants Day.