Govt allocates Tk 427cr for benefits of returnee migrants
Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan || BusinessInsider
The government has taken moves to strengthen the reintegration of the returnee migrants on priority basis as hundreds of thousands of the country’s migrants have returned home after being affected by the COVID pandemic. Photo: Collected
The government has taken moves to strengthen the reintegration of the returnee migrants on priority basis as hundreds of thousands of the country’s migrants have returned home after being affected by the COVID pandemic, said senior officials.
Under the government’s reintegration projects, the came-home workers would be provided cash incentives and technical training to enable them for their best use of expertise they did develop while working abroad, they said.
The officials also said that a comprehensive database of the returnee workers is underway under the same project to sort out skilled workers for their effective reintegration.
A Tk 427-crore project was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on July 28 for the reintegration project.
Expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry secretary Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen told Business Insider Bangladesh on Saturday that ensuring reintegration of who came back has been given prime importance in the 8th 5-year-plan by the government.
“In line with the government’s commitment for ensuring the overall welfare of migrant workers, this project could work as a landmark scheme in the arena of work migration in Bangladesh,” Saleheen said, adding many other similar projects would follow.
“We urge our returnee migrants and aspiring migrant workers to make the best use of the opportunities. Side by side, all the stakeholders from both government and private sectors must work in partnership to transform work migration into an effective tool for development,” the secretary said.
Expressing his gratitude to the Prime Minister for approving such a large project for the country’s migrant workers, a top official of the EWOE ministry said that this project indicated that the government has taken the side of the returned workers.
According to the Wage Earners Welfare Board, about 600,000 migrant workers have returned home since April 2020, when the COVID-19 started impacting the country’s labour market abroad.
EWOE ministry officials said that the government approved a proposal of the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry to implement ‘The Recovery and Advancement of Informal Sector Employment: Reintegration of Returning Migrants’ at a cost of Tk 427 crore.
Under the project, they said some 2,00,000 returned migrant workers would be selected through a formal process and that they would get Tk 13,500 each as grant.
The Wage Earners Welfare Board under the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry will complete the current project by 2023. The Welfare Board will also help returnee migrant workers to get loans from the banks and non-bank financial institutions as part of their rehabilitation under the project.
Returned migrants and their rights activists, however, expressed their concern over implementation of the proposed project as the previous projects were not properly handled by the government.
Migrant rights activist Al Amin Nayan said returnee migrants should be trained by dedicated experts so that they could properly use the public money and get involved into economic activities.
Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program executive director Omar Faruque Chowdhury said the government should make it clear by issuing a circular “which kind of migrants and how much they will get as the government’s financial support.
A filmmaker on migration, Pervez Siddiqui, said the financial grants provided to the Libya returnee migrants in the past failed to deliver anything. Therefore, the civil society organisations should be engaged in the process for effective implementation of public-funded projects.