• Monday, Jan 17, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

Speakers: Returning migrant workers need reintegration help

  • Published at 08:03 pm April 5th, 2021
migrant workers
Photo: DHAKA TRIBUNE

'Skilled migrant workers will not become useless after returning to the country. We need to help them find ways to use their skills'

The government should develop a reintegration program for returning migrant workers, as the workers often face difficulty finding employment commensurate with their experience after returning to Bangladesh, speakers at a virtual conference have said.

The speakers also suggested that recruitment agencies sending workers abroad should help them find employment at local organizations upon their return.

The two-day-long virtual conference on “Reintegration of returning migrants affected by the Covid-19 pandemic” is being arranged by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU). The conference was inaugurated on Monday.

Imran Ahmad, Minister for Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, said: “As far as we are concerned, skill development and use is the core issue for the reintegration of returning migrants and that is what we are focusing on. We are getting funds from international donors with the aim of finding suitable positions for the returning workers.

“Skilled migrant workers will not become redundant after returning to the country. We need to help them find the ways to use their skills,” he said.

“Training, re-skilling and up-gradation are already proceeding at full steam. I think we got quite a good response, but not as much as we expected. This is one of the major challenges now,” he added.

The minister expressed his disappointment at the low disbursement of Covid-19 loans for migrants. About Tk146 crore has been disbursed, whereas Tk700 crore was allocated for the purpose.

Furthermore, the minister said it was difficult to assist returning workers who had gone abroad through unofficial channels, as there were no records on them. As many as 144,000 people went abroad as migrant workers over the past three months, while 150,000-200,000 others went abroad through unofficial channels.

He urged all stakeholders to assist in the formulation of a tangible plan for the benefit of returning migrant workers.

Presiding over the session, Dhaka University Professor and RMMRU Executive Director CR Abrar emphasized the need to ensure that returning migrant workers could transfer their skills to the local context.

Returning migrants who had suffered physical, sexual and mental abuse required access to health and mental care before economic rehabilitation, the speakers added.

They also called on the government to provide support to significant numbers of returning migrants who had been denied their outstanding dues and end-service benefits owing to their hurried return home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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