The government has taken an initiative to create a fund for Bangladeshi workers abroad so that they can do businesses in those countries.
The "Covid-19 Recovery and Response Fund" will help Bangladeshi expatriates to counteract the coronavirus fallout instead of returning home empty-handed, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said Bangladeshi expatriates who lost their jobs during the pandemic will be able to apply for loans ranging from Tk5 to Tk7 lakh from the account.
European countries and organisations will finance the fund for Bangladeshi workers staying in Middle Eastern countries, said Momen after attending an online business support advisory meeting presided over by commerce minister Tipu Munshi.
"There will be training programmes, and after that the workers will do business in the countries," said the foreign minister.
Dr Momen said many countries are pressurising the government to repatriate Bangladeshi workers, and he is talking to the government and several ministers about it.
"We have put forward two requests to the countries — to provide the workers with three meals a day so that they do not starve, and to observe the overall situation before sending the workers back to Bangladesh.
"Even then, if any country decides to send back our workers, the worker must be paid an amount equivalent to six months' salary," added the minister.
Momen said Singapore has promised to provide four-month salary to the workers even if they sit idle. The country will also bear the medical expenses during the period.
The foreign minister said Bahrain will not send back any workers.
He said, "Apart from the two countries, many are pressurising us to take back the Bangladeshi workers. We have asked the workers not to come back unless there are no other means to survive. We will provide them with food and cash."