From April 1 to November 30, 326,758 expatriate workers have returned to the country amid the pandemic
Bangladeshi migrant workers sent $10.9 billion back to the country as remittance in the first five months of FY2020-2021, even though a large contingent of the migrant workers have returned to the country since April this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Expatriates' Welfare Minister Imran Ahmad disclosed the information during a press briefing at the ministry’s conference room on Friday morning.
The minister said: “One of the most important factors for the Bangladesh economy is remittance. Expatiates remitted some $16.4 Billion in FY2018-2019 and that increased to $18.2 billion in FY2019-2020, some 11% higher than the previous fiscal year. During the first five months of the current fiscal year, Bangladesh received $10.9 billion as remittance.”
Migrant workers sent 41.33% more remittance in this first five months of the current fiscal year than over the same period in the previous fiscal year, the minister added.
He claimed the introduction of a 2% incentive policy is the main driver of the increased remittance despite the prevailing pandemic situation.
The minister also admitted that there are fears Bangladesh could lose access to the foreign labour market due to the pandemic and resulting complexities.
According to the minister, a total 326,758 expatiates returned to Bangladesh from the beginning of April till the end of November. BMET, the training management wing of the ministry, revealed that around 700,159 people went abroad in 2019.
The minister said government has allotted Tk200 crore for granting loan to the workers who have returned from abroad after losing their livelihoods due to Covid-19, or for family members of expatiates who have died abroad from Covid-19. The loans will be provided as investment loans, which have to be paid back with 4% of interest.
“Till December 14, some 411 loan seekers had gotten loans amounting to Tk80.08 million,” he claimed.
The minister could not provide the list of expatiates who have died abroad, but he said the government is providing Tk3 lakh their family members for compensation and rehabilitation.
Minister Imran Ahmad also informed that International Migrants Day would be observed nationally on January 6 next year, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joining the program virtually as the chief guest.