28,849 expatriate Bangladeshis to return home from ME in next few weeks
Owing to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, things are getting worse day by day with respect to the job market for Bangladeshis in the Middle East as more and more expatriates are returning home.
The future looks even bleaker as the flow of remittance will be hit hard, one of the very important lifelines of the country’s economy, according to government officials concerned.
“I don’t want to specify any number now. But, I can say that the number of people having to return home is big,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told Dhaka Tribune.
“Some Middle Eastern countries are repeatedly asking us to bring our people back. We are saying to them that we will bring them back, but gradually,” he said.
“Definitely, the return of Bangladeshis in a large number will impact the flow of remittance. We are assessing how badly it will impact and trying to get prepared for that,” he added.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Momen said on Wednesday, in a video message after the fifth inter-ministerial meeting on the issues related to expatriates, that in the last week alone, 3,695 Bangladeshis returned home and 28,849 are likely to come back in next few weeks.
The meeting, attended, among others, by Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam and representatives from relevant ministries and departments, was held online.
In coming days, Bangladeshis will be coming from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Oman, Lebanon and Iraq, said the foreign minister, adding that 400 more Bangladeshis will come back home on Thursday.
Bangladesh will certainly accept its citizens based on the quarantine facilities in the country, he said.
“We have discussed a few issues. One of those is to find ways to keep the expatriates free from troubles abroad. Many expatriates are returning home. Based on the ability regarding quarantine facilities the expatriates are being brought back,” said the minister.
“We will bring back home all our citizens from abroad. There is no doubt about that,” he added.
In Kuwait, the government declared amnesty for the undocumented people and 4,500 such Bangladeshis are detained in different camps, Dr Momen said.
It has been learnt that they are not being properly fed and the Bangladeshi embassy there is taking care of them,” he said.
“Whenever the Kuwaiti government will want we will bring them back. Earlier, the government of Kuwait sent us a list of 190 people and we have allowed them. The Kuwaiti government said that it would send them back on its own arrangement. Whenever they will give us a time schedule we will accept them in,” he added
“Tomorrow (Thursday), 400 Bangladeshis will come back home from abroad. Earlier, we have brought some back. According to the Maldivian president, 1,500 people will return to Bangladesh and we will certainly accept them,” he added.
The UAE government has been asking all the countries to take their people back and Bangladesh will bring its citizens back, said Dr Momen.
“Saudi Arabia is yet to provide us the full picture. But, 4265 Bangladeshis will probably return,” he said, adding that 1,000 people is likely to come from Oman and people from Jordan will also return.
“Bangladeshis in Lebanon are in deep trouble. We are trying to bring them back through the International Organization for Migration free of cost,” said the minister.
“A large number of Bangladeshis lost their jobs in Iraq. We are contemplating on how these people could be brought back home”, he said.