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Dhaka Tribune

64,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers return home due to Covid-19 pandemic

According to the migrant welfare desk at Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, most of these migrant workers returned to Bangladesh in the first two weeks of April this year

Update : 19 Aug 2020, 02:27 PM

Some 64,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers have returned home from 23 countries as the coronavirus pandemic gradually spread across the globe.

Among those who returned, 61,215 were males while 2,748 are female workers. According to a source in the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, 59% of these migrant workers returned home after losing their jobs abroad. 

According to the migrant welfare desk at Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, most of these migrant workers returned to Bangladesh in the first two weeks of April this year. 

Of them, 11,411 workers returned to Bangladesh from Saudi Arabia, 7,447 from Maldives, 1,332 from Singapore, 3,115 from Oman, 6,703 from Kuwait, 22,065 from the United Arab Emirates, 746 from Bahrain, 71 from South Africa, 5,483 from Qatar, 1,559 from Malaysia, 100 from South Korea, 20 from Thailand, 39 from Myanmar, 736 from Jordan, 15 from Vietnam, 40 from Cambodia, 151 from Italy, 1,020 from Iraq, 80 from Sri Lanka, 36 from Mauritius, 100 from Russia, 1,560 from Turkey, and 194 from Lebanon.

Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed believes that workers who had returned after losing their jobs deserved to get hired again based on their experience and qualifications.

Meanwhile, ministry officials said diplomatic efforts are being made to find new labor markets and re-employment for the migrant workers whose job contracts have expired or those who lost their jobs and returned to the country.

Shariful Islam Hasan, head of Brac Migration Program, said about 75,000 people have returned since April this year, and added that the migrant workers are now in crisis as they returned home empty-handed.

He also informed that Bangladeshi migrant workers, who returned home in February and March, were still in a state of uncertainty as many of them could not collect their salaries, while many others had no confirmation from their employers on the possibility of rejoining their jobs. 

Meanwhile, those who have tried to go back to their jobs abroad are now facing many hurdles such as with Covid-19 test reports and high prices of air tickets, Shariful added.

Saying that air ticket prices should not be this high due to the pandemic, he further opined that expatriates should be given priority through alternative arrangements.

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