Coronavirus Fallout: 70pc returnees remain jobless | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 13, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:59 AM, August 13, 2020

Coronavirus Fallout: 70pc returnees remain jobless

Says IOM survey on Bangladeshi migrants back home in February-June this year

About 70 percent of the migrant workers who returned from abroad between February and June this year are unemployed, according to a study of International Organisation for Migration.

The study findings, based on interviews with 1,486 such migrants, were released in a report titled "Rapid Assessment of Needs and Vulnerabilities of Internal and International Return Migrants in Bangladesh".

The report was released in coordination with the government, said an IOM release sent to the media yesterday.

The survey was conducted in May and July in 12 districts from where many migrate to foreign lands to work. The survey also interviewed 1,279 internal migrants.

According to the report, the returnees experienced reintegration challenges, including difficulties in securing employment, financial problems, 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 or her household on average," said the IOM.

Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, it said.

Since March this year, hundreds of thousands of migrants were compelled to return home due to limited access to income-generating activities, social services, healthcare systems, and social support networks in foreign countries.

Sixty-four percent returnees said following the Covid-19 outbreak, they struggled to access information and health services in those countries, the report mentioned.

Twenty-nine percent of the respondents said they had returned home because they were asked to leave the country they were in, and 23 percent mentioned they were worried about Covid-19 and wished to return.

Moreover, 26 percent of the respondents said they had returned because their families had asked them to, and nine percent returned because they were worried about being stranded there.

The study found 55 percent returnees had unpaid debt.

It said about 75 percent respondents wanted to re-migrate and 97 percent of them wished to go back to the country they were in before the pandemic.

Migrant workers are some of the most vulnerable groups affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, said Giorgi Gigauri, IOM chief of mission in Bangladesh.

"Bangladeshi migrant workers and their remittance-dependent communities are adversely impacted by the unprecedented global restrictions on mobility and the Covid-19-induced recession," he said.


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