Although migrant workers returning home may be negatively affecting the foreign exchange earnings of the country and reducing the amount of remittance received from abroad, but we should also remember that they are human beings like everyone and not just money earning machines. During this unprecedented pandemic of global proportion, it is only natural for someone to want to be with their near and dear ones. Furthermore, as many of their workplaces have been shut down due to health reasons like the hotels, restaurants and tourist hubs, our migrant workers had little option but to return home. Others had to return as their workplaces postponed the ongoing infrastructure buildups due to economic concerns.
Our migrant workers go abroad to unknown lands for livelihood in order to provide a better life to their families and in the process the country also benefits from the remittances they send back home for their families’ upkeep. Most of our migrant workers are returning from those countries whose booming economies have been affected by the sudden onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.The global economy has been negatively affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as a result many of the previously flourishing economies are facing a slump in their growth. We hope that it is a temporary phase, but nevertheless it is affecting the lives of our own migrant population and their families. Therefore, we must look towards finding alternative countries for the employment of our returning migrant workers. Our embassies abroad must look for alternative countries to expand the market for our migrant workers. One shut door may lead us to ten new openings. But we must keep trying to find them.
We appreciate our government taking initiatives to set up a fund of Tk 700 crore for the rehabilitation of returnee workers and sending them abroad again through re-training. Country-specific training can improve the skills and earning capacity of our migrant workers, thereby benefiting the economy in the long run. In the meantime, the government initiative to provide emergency food and other assistance to affected expatriate Bangladeshis and financial assistance to the families of every expatriate Bangladeshi who died of Covid-19, are also highly appreciable.
That the planned benefits reach the target group must be ensured strictly, to maintain the peoples’ confidence in the words and actions of the government.