Approximately 70 percent of surveyed migrants, who returned from abroad between February and June, are unemployed, according to a study conducted on returnees in 12 districts of the country.
The study findings are presented in the IOM report--"Rapid Assessment of Needs and Vulnerabilities of Internal and International Return Migrants in Bangladesh" -- conducted under the EU-funded project 'Regional Evidence for Migration Analysis and Policy (REMAP)'.
According to the report, the returning migrants experienced reintegration challenges which included difficulties in securing employment, financial problems (lack of income and accumulating debt), and health-related issues.
Unplanned, large-scale returns of unemployed migrant workers affect remittance-dependent communities across the country where each migrant worker supports three members of his/her household on average, the report said.
The report released in coordination with the Government of Bangladesh listed findings from interviews with a total of 2,765 returning migrants, including 1,486 international-return migrants and 1,279 internal-return migrants.
The survey was conducted in May and July 2020 in 12 high migration-prone districts, seven of which share a border with India.
Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, and since March 2020, hundreds of thousands of international migrant workers were compelled to return to their home districts in Bangladesh due to limited access to income-generating activities, social services, healthcare systems and social support networks in the countries in which they were working prior to the outbreak of Covid-19.
At the time of the interviews, a total of 55 percent of the respondents who had returned from abroad had accumulated unpaid debt.
Giorgi Gigauri, Chief of Mission of International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Bangladesh, said, "Migrant workers are some of the most vulnerable groups affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bangladeshi migrant workers and their remittance-dependent communities are adversely impacted by the unprecedented global restrictions on mobility and the COVID-19-induced recession. IOM, as coordinator of the Bangladesh UN Network on Migration, is committed to contributing to the body of evidence on migration in/from Bangladesh."
"This research will support Government-led efforts to develop evidence-based strategies to ensure sustainable reintegration for returning migrants. During this pandemic, research will support the development of responsive, migrant-centered approaches essential for the support and protection of vulnerable migrants. We should work together to reintegrate migrants into their communities."
On Monday, IOM hosted a virtual briefing on the findings of the report which was attended by a range of stakeholders including UN agencies, I/NGOs, LNGOs and academic organisations from Bangladesh and from the region.