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Comfort amid crisis for Bangladeshi expats

  • Published at 11:00 am May 12th, 2020
Migrant workers singapore
File photo: Foreign workers hanging out along the corridor of the S11 Dormitory at Punggol, in Singapore on April 6, 2020 AFP

In some places the expats are earning more than before despite the lockdown

Bangladeshi expatriate workers in the gulf countries, North America, and Europe are facing a serious financial crisis in light of the coronavirus pandemic. This is not unusual right now as countless people have been hit hard by this unprecedented crisis.

But on the flip side of the coin, Bangladeshi expatriate workers in France, Singapore, and the United States are apparently doing well in terms of their earnings despite the lockdowns enforced due to the pandemic.

In some cases they are even earning more than usual despite being unemployed.

This correspondent interviewed expatriates from each of these three countries to delve deeper into the matter.

Singapore

Moazzem Reza is a Bangladesh national working for a private organization involved in maintenance service of power plants. After several years of serving as a labourer, he was promoted to a supervisor position.

Moazzem told Dhaka tribune: “All of the Singaporean companies are still paying the salary of their employees. The companies themselves are accommodating their workers and paying all the utility bills as per the government directives. Government is providing three meals for all every day along with the internet bill.

“Quarantined people are getting 100 Singapore dollars per day as quarantine allowance, which is equivalent to Tk6,000,” he said.

He continued: “The number of Covid-19 patients is increasing each day. This is the biggest problem right now. There is no economic problem here and in a sense, unemployment has brought more earnings compared to what is usual.”

Moreover, the Singapore government has increased the visa validity by three months for people whose visas have expired, Moazzem informed.

US

Talukder Mohammod Samsujjoha, former vice president of Bangladesh Chhatra League in the US, lives in New York City.

Samsujjoha said: “Bangladeshis living here are not facing any financial crisis. The federal government is giving $1200 to each person. Couples are getting $2400 and additional $500 for each child

“The state government is paying 75% of the workers’ salary and an additional $500 as subsidy for each month,” he added.

“People with informal jobs are also getting allowances worth at least $2400 a month or $600 on a weekly basis, which is more than what they usually earned before the lockdown was enforced,” he stated.

“People who do not have a green card but have a social security card are getting the same as well. People with neither of them might be facing problems but they are very few in number and I have not seen anyone in that situation,” commented Samsujjoha

France

Saeedur Rahman worked at a departmental shop in France. He has no official documents to stay in the country but has applied for asylum.

Saeedur Said: “I am not going to work right now as I have no valid documents to stay in France. Police sometimes cause trouble on my way to the workplace. Nevertheless, I am getting €400 per month from the government as allowance.

“Those with necessary documents for staying in the country and previously employed are getting 80% of their salary. On top of that, they are saving transportation and various other costs as well,” he remarked.

People here are not facing any financial problem, he added.

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