08/13/2020, 11.52
BANGLADESH
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Dhaka, 70% of emigrants who returned due to Covid-19 without work

by Sumon Corraya

Revealed in an International Organization for Migration report. About 10 million Bangladeshi work abroad, especially in the Persian Gulf, generating remittances of over 15 billion euros. One migrant worker supports on average three members of his family. Without work, they go into debt to buy food and pay for coronavirus treatment. Many returnees hope to leave soon.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - 70% of migrant workers who returned to Bangladesh for the coronavirus pandemic are now out of work revealed the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in a study published yesterday. About 10 million Bangladeshi live and work abroad, mainly employed as low-skilled labor in the Persian Gulf. In 2019, they generated remittances worth over 15 billion euros.

The survey, carried out on a sample of 1,500 people from 12 districts, takes into consideration the returns that took place between February and June. According to IOM, unplanned and large-scale returns of unemployed migrants affect communities that depend on remittances: one migrant worker supports on average three members of his family.

"Bangladeshi migrant workers and their remittance-dependent communities are adversely impacted by the unprecedented global restrictions on mobility and the Covid-19-induced recession", explains Giorgi Gigauri, head of the IOM mission in the country. The returnees encountered difficulties in reintegrating. 55% of them are in debt; if they contract the virus, they do not have the means to pay for their healthcare costs.

Sumon Rozario, a Catholic from the diocese of Rajshahi in Natore, returned to Bangladesh in late March. He worked in a resort in Dubai, which was later closed due to Covid-19. He has been unemployed for five months, unable to find a job as a cook. He hopes to return to the United Arab Emirates as soon as flights between the two countries are re-established. "I contracted the coronavirus - he tells AsiaNews - and to be treated I asked for money on loan. I can't find a good job and I want to go back to Dubai as soon as possible ”.

Benedetto Corraya, a faithful Catholic father of three, has a history similar to that of Sumon. He wants to return to Kuwait, from where he returned last March. In order to survive, in recent months he has borrowed money and raised cattle in Natore: "My employer wants me to return to Kuwait, but air connections with the Persian Gulf are still blocked".

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