Some 60,989 workers returned from Saudi Arabia
As many as 225,582 expatriate Bangladeshis from 29 countries returned home in the last seven months till October 24 due to different reasons including lack of jobs amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and expiration of timeframe of work, contract, and visa.
Assistant Director at Expatriate Welfare Desk of Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Md Fakhrul Alam on Tuesday said that a total of 200,146 male and 25,436 female expatriate Bangladeshi workers came back home from April 1 to October 24.
A total of 191,194 expats returned for various reasons including not having work due to the coronavirus crisis and expiration of timeframe of work, contract, or Akama (visa) as 34,088 came back with outpass after serving different jail terms, he said.
But, many of the returnee workers will be able to get back to their respective countries abroad after the situation comes to normal, sources said
Among the returnees, most of the persons are from Saudi Arabia, they said.
Some 60,989 workers returned from Saudi Arabia, among which, 50,046 are male and 10,403 are female, they added.
The second highest 59,920 expats came back from the UAE due to a lack of jobs in their employing organizations. Of them, 55,082 are male and 4,838 are female.
A total number of 13,486 people returned from Oman with outpass and 12,159 from the tourist hub Maldives due to having no work caused by coronavirus.
Apart from this, 10,893 people have returned from Kuwait, 4,064 from Singapore, 1,411 from Bahrain, 71 from South Africa, 23,118 from Qatar, 10,821 from Malaysia, 136 from South Korea, 89 from Thailand, 39 from Myanmar, 2,204 from Jordan, 8,892 from Iraq, 121 from Vietnam and 548 from Sri Lanka.
On the other hand, 151 expatriate Bangladeshis were sent back from Italy suspecting that they contacted coronavirus.
After their return, all of them were kept in quarantine under the supervision of the army.
In addition, 6,699 from Lebanon, 100 from Russia, 452 from Mauritius, 8,558 from Turkey, 55 from Nepal, 16 from Hong Kong, 106 from Cambodia, 8 from Japan, 53 from London, 315 from Libya, and 126 from other parts of the world have returned to the country, said the ministry officials.
About rehabilitation of the returnee Bangladeshi expats, Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Imran Ahmad said: “The government has taken initiative to set up a fund of Tk700 crore for the rehabilitation of returnee workers and send them abroad again through re-training.”
He said that during the pandemic, the expatriate welfare ministry has taken extensive measures for the overall welfare of the returnee workers and their safe migration.
Referring to the initiatives taken by the ministry, he said, “Financial aid of around Tk10 crore will be provided for emergency food and other assistance to affected expatriate Bangladeshis and financial assistance of Tk3 lakh will be provided very soon to the families of every expatriate Bangladeshi died of Covid-19.”
Initiatives were taken for giving proper recognition and certification of experienced workers returned from abroad with providing humanitarian assistance to the homeless, affected, poor workers, and family members of Bangladeshi workers residing abroad under the ongoing social security program, he added.
“Investment loans at 4% simple interest are being given to the returnee workers affected by Covid-19. A project worth Tk200 crore has been taken up to this end,” the minister said.
He also said that loans are being given through Expatriate Welfare Bank on easy terms for the rehabilitation of the affected expatriate workers.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Prabasi Kalyan Bank and Wage Earners Welfare Board on July 12 in this regard, he added.
Mentioning that the returnee workers are worthy of deserving priority in line with their experience at home and abroad, he said, “Amid Covid-19, we are regularly inquiring about the expatriate workers”.
The overall cooperation from the government for the overall protection of returnee expats will continue, he added.