Number of expatriate returnees amid COVID-19 not alarming: Imran

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DHAKA, Dec 18, 2020 (BSS) –Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed, MP, today said the number of expatriate returnees during the coronavirus situation has not become alarming yet.

“It was feared that the economic downturn and the impact of the corona pandemic would lead to the collapse of the labor market in the major employer countries, leaving many foreign workers unemployed. But hopefully, the number of returning workers so far has not become alarming,” he said.
The minister said this at a press briefing on the occasion of International Migrants Day-2020 at the conference room of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment here.

The Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Missions and Embassies have simultaneously played a positive role in this regard as from April 1 to November 30, 3 lakh 26 thousand 758 expatriate workers have returned to the country amid the pandemic, he said.

Secretary of the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Dr Ahmed Munirush Salehin, Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training(BMET) Director General Md Shamsul Alam, Director General of Wage Earners’ Welfare Board Md Hamidur Rahman, Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited (BOESL) Managing Director Md Saiful Hassan Badal and additional secretaries of the ministry Shahidul Alam and Khadija Begum were present on the occasion.

The minister said: “The global labor market is facing an unfavorable situation today in the wake of the coronavirus infection and overcoming this situation is a challenge.”

“Even after that, we are optimistic about the situation. If the situation becomes normal after the economic downturn, the development activities of the employing country will definitely require workers and the labor market will return to normal condition,” he added.

With this hope in mind, all concerned have arranged necessary training and prepared internationally accepted certifications in order to send skilled workers to the international labor market, Imran continued.

He said remittances are one of the driving forces of Bangladesh’s economy.

The amount of remittances in the financial year 2018-19 was 16.4 billion US dollars, he said, adding that in the 2019-20 fiscal year, remittances amounted to US dollars 18.2 billion, an increase of 11 percent than the previous year.

In the first five months of the fiscal year 2020-21, remittances so far were collected US dollars 10.9 billion which is 41.33 percent of the first five months of the previous fiscal year, he added.