Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are being sent home due to recession resulting from the pandemic
International Organization for Migration (IOM) urges communities to support the reintegration and combat stigmatization of returning migrant workers to Bangladesh due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Due to the economic and labour crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are expected to return by the end of the year,” said IOM on Tuesday, when it observes the International Day of Family Remittances.
“Recession-related job losses will impact not only remittance-receiving households but their extended communities,” it added.
On Tuesday, IOM released a report on “Migration, Family Remittances, Assets and Skills Categories in Bangladesh.”
The survey found that higher-skilled workers send more money than the less skilled migrants and that an increase in skills increased the amount remitted by up to $255 per month between 2009 and 2019.
Migrants’ skills determined how remittances were invested and saved, with skilled migrants requesting family members to invest remittances into savings accounts whereas unskilled migrants generally used remittance to pay off loans, it said.
The findings showed that Bangladeshi migrant workers and remittance senders were overwhelmingly men (98%), about 12% of migrant workers did not attend school at all and nearly 80% did not continue studying after secondary school.
IOM thus advised to educate and work on developing the skills of the workers.
Of the surveyed migrant workers, half worked as employees for a firm or company (49%) and nearly one-quarter (26%) worked as labourers – daily wage (14%), part time (12%), and construction (15%).
The economic return on migration is lower in Bangladesh than countries with a skilled-migrant workforce because the amount that unskilled and lower-skilled workers remit is much lower than that of skilled workers.
Addressing the research findings, Giorgi Gigauri, chief of Mission, IOM Bangladesh, said: “Now more than ever we need to focus on supporting remittance-dependent communities who are impacted by the recession.
“We need to support the government to prioritize skills development of migrant workers so they can increase remittance flow to Bangladesh, and we also need to focus on providing financial literacy training, particularly to women, to improve productive investment of remittances and to build the resilience and financial independence of remittance-reliant households.”
According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), in 2019 alone, over 700,000 migrant workers left the country in search of employment abroad and over 73% of remittances were sent from Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
In 2019, $18.32 billion was remitted to Bangladesh, the third highest recipient of remittance in South Asia.