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The plight of a repatriate migrant worker

  • Published at 01:07 am June 22nd, 2019
Migrant workers
File photo of migrant workers at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Dhaka Tribune

Going against his preference, the 28-years old youth, started driving the car, as he found no other alternative for livelihood after returning from Singapore, some 10 months ago, in July 2018

Mizanur Rahman, a returnee migrant worker, has just started driving a car of a rent-a-car company from May 15, and he is using online based transport apps for earning his bread. 

Going against his preference, the 28-years old youth, started driving the car, as he found no other alternative for livelihood after returning from Singapore, some 10 months ago, in July 2018.   

After four years of hardship abroad, Mizan, found that the hard work paid him nothing but a handful of money, that he could barely invest for a start-up or some fruitful technical expertise that he could use for availing any job.    

He became perplexed over his career in the country, as he found no reliable source of secure job market in the country. 

While talking to the Dhaka Tribune, he said spending 10 months without a job made him depressed. The situation worsened when his mother forcibly got him married to his cousin, earlier this year.  

“I, who had been a major contributor, better to say lone earner, is now unable to give any financial support to my family. Whatever, I wanted to do, was found futile. Even the close ones around me betrayed me over a small trade.”

“Thanks to my father who continued his trade, although I was sending enough money for my family.”

Mizan, after completing HSC in 2008, decided to go abroad, his assistance could barely impact the earnings of his father Kuddus Fakir, who had a fruit shop at Gabtoli in Dhaka city.  

Lure of job in a foreign country

Hearing from Zubair, one of his cousins, Mizan enrolled in Welltech Test and Training Centre, and took nine months training in 2012. 

After passing the test in September that year, he obtained a certificate from Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore. 

Accordingly, his cousin Zubair, managed a work permit for him, and he flew to Singapore in July 2013. He worked there for three years, and returned home in June 2016. On his return, he learnt that the money he sent through the banking channel of the country was spent for family expenses, as his father fell sick just before his return. 

He once again flew to Singapore, and joined a new job at Energy Engineering PTE Ltd on a two year contract. 

But luck did not favor him this time. After few months of work, he fell sick. His company carried all the expenses of his treatment. After paying the other costs to Changi General Hospital, and law firm Joseph and Chang Company, related to his illness, he was hardly left with Tk3,00,000.         

“I worked in steel fittings, pipe fittings for AC and cooling water in sky-scrappers, painted interiors, but all these experiences seemed useless.”

“A local contractor, said the job has less payment as the working style is totally different from Bangladesh,” he added. 

At home

Upon reaching home, the more he waited for a job, the little was getting his hope. His father advised him to learn driving. 

“Following the advice, he finally could start earning by driving,” said his father Kuddus Fakir. 

One of Mizan's friends, informed him about rehabilitation loan from Probashi Kallyan Bank (PKB), but after learning about the procedure we decided not to apply for the loan, he added.

“I still have a loan of Tk200,000, that I took when I went to Singapore for the first time, and I am still paying Tk20,000 a year as interest against the loan. I took a loan of about Tk400,000 to start my work. But to me, taking a loan from other banks seemed much more easier than taking a loan from PKB,” Mizan explained. 

“I took training, made myself skilled, sent remittance through proper channel, and contributed for the betterment of my country. But I got nothing in return. When I returned after recovering from illness, I found no centre having facility for rehabilitation, no source of market knowledge.”

Then what should we do? Should we work abroad for our entire life? Or work only for building a ‘House’ at the home district like others do? Mizan questioned. 

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