Bangladesh may see decline in remittance inflow in 2021: RMMRU 

December 29, 2020 18:46:21

| Updated:

December 29, 2020 21:24:30

The country’s remittance earnings may fall next year as the outflow of workers abroad declined drastically in the current year, projected a RMMRU report.

Only 183,682 workers went abroad with jobs from January 01 to November 19 this year. Of them 181,218 workers went to their job destination countries in the first three months of this year, the report showed.    

Analysing the trend of outflow of workers to job markets, RMMRU also projected that Bangladesh’s overseas jobs are estimated to drop by 71.45 per cent in 2020.   

The report titled ‘Migration Trend Report from Bangladesh-2020, Achievement and Challenge’ was presented at a virtual press meeting organised by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) on Tuesday.

RMMRU Chair Professor Tasneem Siddiqui while presenting the report to the journalists said last year about 0.7 million Bangladeshi workers went abroad with jobs. But this year only 183,682 could go abroad for employment.

Usually workers start sending remittance regularly to their families from the second year of their migration. So, the lower number of migration will impact on the remittance earnings in next year, if any special incident does not occur in this sector, she also said.    

Ms Siddiqui stated there are several factors behind the sudden increase in remittance earning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Visa trading stopped because of halt of recruitment this year. A section of recruiters buy each visa on average at US$ 1500.

If they want to buy 700,000 visas, they need to spend US$ 1.05 billion.  Recruiters meet the visa cost through hundi.  As they did not buy visas this year, the remittance was sent through official channel, she added.      

The decline in import of raw materials by manufacturers and gold smuggling also are vital reasons behind the decrease of sending money through hundi.  The government’s 2.0 per cent incentive also is working to inspire the workers to send remittance using official channels.  

Besides, the workers are closing businesses or investments before returning home. So, they are sending all money home, she also mentioned. 

Bangladeshis sent US$ 19.69 billion remittance during January to November period of current calendar year, according to the report.

If the trend continues, the country’s remittance earnings will increase by 17.05 per cent this year than that of previous year, it said.

About job market, the RMMRU chair said the demand for unskilled workers in some sectors including construction and cleaning will not fall in traditional markets. Female migration also will not be declined because of pandemic.

Bangladesh also has started sending workers  to countries like Romania, Poland, Cambodia, and Croatia. At present it is needed to create demand based workers to tap new opportunities in global market.      

Migrant workers are more vulnerable in any kind of global crisis and pandemic. They are also more vulnerable in present Coronavirus pandemic.

About 70,000 Bangladeshi expatriates were infected with coronavirus until July current year in 186 countries. Of them, 1,380 died of this virus.

Until December 27, the report said 2,330 Bangladeshis died of Covid-19 in destination countries.          

Although some Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar announced that migrant workers would get equal opportunity like local people –free Covid-19 test– many Bangladeshis did not get this service while returning home.

A total of 326,758 workers returned home from April 01 to November 30. In the beginning, migrant workers were stigmatised at home. Besides, 81 Vietnam returnee workers were arrested by law enforcers under the section 54 in August last. But they were the victims of human trafficking, the report mentioned.

The report put a set of recommendations including developing policy guideline for migrant workers.

It is necessary to scrutinise why international instruments are not followed properly to protect the rights of migrant workers at home and destination countries, the report suggested.      

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