The government is going to enforce mandatory insurance coverage for Bangladeshis working abroad from December 19 this year, officials have said.
To this effect, expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry has recently issued a gazette.
The workers will be offered two insurance products to choose from. Both policies will be for a two-year term.
However, the tenure could be extended if the job contract is extended.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to formally inaugurate life insurance coverage in Dhaka on December 19 on the occasion of International Migrants Day 2019.
A senior official said the ministry has introduced insurance for the protection of migrant workers with benefits in cases of their death or disability.
Jibon Bima Corporation (JBC) is covering insurance under a pilot project being supervised by the Wage Earners' Welfare Board (WEWB).
The Policy One will be of Tk 200,000 with a premium of Tk 990 and the Policy Two of Tk 500,000 with a premium of Tk 2,475.
The premium will be paid as a single installment for the entire two-year term. But the workers will bear Tk 490 for policy one and Tk 1,975 for policy two.
WEWB will subsidize each premium by Tk 500 from its fund.
However, each outbound worker pays Tk 3,500 as an emigration clearance fee that contributes to WEWB.
The existing fee remains unchanged.
According to officials, the facilities came following the PM's instruction to ensure insurance coverage for migrant workers during her Saudi visit in 2016.
The Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority drafted the policy with a provision that a nominee will get 100 percent benefit in case of a policyholder's death during the coverage period.
In case of accidental disability, a worker will get an amount between 10 percent and 100 percent depending on the degree of injuries.
Overseas job seekers aged between 18 and 58 will be eligible for insurance policies.
Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendra executive director Sumaiya Islam said such policy should have been free of premium as workers are contributing largely to the national economy.
Still, the authorities have scope to review their plan as it is a pilot project, she observed.
Ms. Islam also suggested creating awareness among workers of their benefits from insurance policies so that they are not being cheated by vested quarters.
"Even it's difficult for educated and well-off people to claim benefits from many insurers," she said, calling for further protection of poor workers in receiving insurance money.
According to the data available with the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training, an estimated 0.6 million workers go abroad from Bangladesh annually.
Since the year 1976, more than 12 million Bangladeshis have gone to different countries.
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