The United Nation's Migration Agency, International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), is focused on providing assistance to vulnerable migrants returning from European Union (EU) countries, particularly those returning from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries where there have been large-scale, sector-wide retrenchments following the decline in oil prices during Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), each year, around 600,000 workers migrate from Bangladesh in search of better livelihood opportunities abroad. In 2019, around USD 18 billion was remitted to Bangladesh by migrants. IOM and partners are concerned that the predicted 22 per cent drop in remittances to South Asia, driven by the global economic slowdown, will have adverse consequences for migrants and remittance dependent communities in Bangladesh.
With EU support and under the coordination of the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, IOM is assisting migrants stranded abroad and vulnerable migrants that have returned to Bangladesh from the EU. Support and counselling are provided to callers to hotline (+8809610102030) set-up by IOM for migrants, promoted and accessed through www.probashihelpline.com.
Secretary of Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, commented, "Migrants are the frontline soldiers of our national development. It is our priority to ensure the safety and security of migrant workers affected by the pandemic. The Ministry is involved in many initiatives to support migrants."