The government has decided to provide food assistance to the migrant workers who returned home from different countries during coronavirus pandemic.
Under a safety net programme of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, each of the returnees would be provided with 10kilogramme rice, five-kilogramme flour, one-kilogramme lentils, one- kilogramme salt and one litre of soybean oil.
Enamur Rahman, state minister for disaster management and relief, said this package would be for 15 days.
"We will continue to provide them with the assistance until they find an income-generating job for themselves," he added.
The returnee migrant workers would also be able to avail a loan of any amount between Tk 1 lakh and Tk 5 lakh at four percent interest rate during this time.
A letter was issued on Wednesday to the district and upazila administrations regarding this. They were asked to find out the needy migrant workers and provide them with the assistance.
Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad said some 21,000 Bangladeshis have returned home since April and more could return in the coming months. Many of them lost jobs due to the pandemic.
"Therefore, we raised the issue at a recent inter-ministerial meeting and said that the returnee migrants and their families should get at least food assistance at this bad time," he told The Daily Star yesterday.
The disaster management ministry agreed to the proposal. Based on that, the expatriates' welfare ministry ordered the District Employment and Manpower Offices (DEMO) to prepare a list of those seeking assistance, he added.
In the districts having no DEMO, the migrants or their families will have to register at the Technical Training Centres run by the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET).
Several lakh Bangladeshi migrants are estimated to return home in the coming months, mainly from the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries.
Shakirul Islam, executive director of Ovibashi Karmi Unnapayn Programme (OKUP), said they welcomed the government decision of including the migrant workers and their families to the social safety net programme.
"Over the years, we found many migrants and their families living in poor conditions, but they were never included in the social safety net programme," he said.