Around five lakh Bangladeshi migrant workers have returned home after losing their jobs in the wake of the Covid pandemic fallout since March 2020.
The information was revealed at a press briefing after a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council presided over by prime minister Sheikh Hasina virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.
The meeting 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.
Planning minister MA Mannan, who addressed the press briefing, said that each of 2,00,000 returnee migrant workers would be given Tk 13,500 in grant under the project.
Planning Commission member Sharifa Khan said that more such projects would be taken by the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry in future.
She said that they estimated that five lakh workers returned home as the Wage Earners Welfare Board had already registered the return of 4.80 lakh migrant workers at airports.
The Wage Earners Welfare Board under the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry will implement the current project by 2023.
It will identify 23,500 skilled workers from among the 2,00,000 returnee migrant workers and send the skilled workers abroad again for jobs.
The Wage Earners Welfare Board will also help returnee migrant workers to get loans from banks and non-bank financial institutions as part of their rehabilitation under the project.
A database of the returnee workers will also be prepared under the same project to be financed from loans from the World Bank.
The WB has already approved $200 million in loans to provide support to involuntary returnee migrant workers and to low-income urban youth impacted by the current pandemic, said Economic Relations Division officials.
The officials said that around a quarter of the loans would be utilised for implementation of the project under the Wage Earners Welfare Board and the rest for providing microcredit in rural areas by state-owned Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation
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