BASUG Analysis on Impact of COVID-19 on Migration

Netherland based Bangladeshi Diaspora organization BASUG has analyzed the impact of corona pandemic on the migration, challenges and way forward in its recent publication.

‘COVID-19 has brought most of the world to a halt. It has already made huge impact on every aspects of our society, economy and our day-to-day lives across the globe,’ according to 15th Year of Publication  of BASUG, Special Consultative Status of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The BASUG Newsletter published in May and it has been distributed among all stakeholders and partner organizations across the globe.

‘COVID-19 will have lasting Migration implications long after the situation improves and the people, economy and health systems become normal,’ said the report, adding that people started seeing the implications of COVID-19, how it has seriously affected the whole cycle of migration.

ILO has already predicted that nearly 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide, due to COVID-19.  Due to lockdown in all the destination countries, it is the migrant workers who are the most vulnerable group.

Many of them have already lost their jobs and they have not received any financial compensation or support from their employers in the destination countries.

‘This is about the regular migrant workers. The situation of the irregular workers is even worse. It is not only their financial situation, their health is in grave danger, as most migrant workers live in inhuman condition in many destination countries, especially in the Middle East, Malaysia, Italy, Spain in Europe. ‘

Migrants Returning to Bangladesh:

 Between February and March of this year, before the lockdown started, 200.000 Bangladeshi migrants returned home. This is just in one month. Of them,100.000 were jobless. During the lockdown, since mid-March, around 3000 were repatriated to Bangladesh, mostly from the Middle East. Most of them were detainees in jails in Bahrain, Saudi Arab, Kuwait and Oman.

‘So, we can see how serious and alarming is the impact of COVID-19, in sending countries like Bangladesh. ‘

Remittance:

COVID-19 has seriously affected the family members of the migrants back home, as the migrants are not in a position to send remittances to their family members.

The migrant families who depend on Remittance- inflows have been hit hard and are getting out of food security due to lack of their remittances.

Considering, migrants’ financial and health vulnerabilities as well as the forecast recession, a conservative estimate shows that Remittance will register a negative 7% decline in 2020, compared to 2019, from $76 billion to $70 billion US dollar.

This decline in remittance growth, will have consequences, for the migrants’ recipient families who rely on remittances and at the end it will affect country’s GDP.

Another impact of COVID-19 is: Huge number of migrants who have already returned home being jobless are depressed, demoralized and in some cases traumatized.

Not only that, in Bangladesh in some cases the returnee migrants were isolated by the society on the ground that they brought ‘corona virus’ to the country

In a number of cases they were physically assaulted, harassed and their houses were demolished. They were marked as ‘dangerously-infected people’ and were corned in the society.

In some areas red-flags were hoisted on their houses, so that the surrounding people know that here live returnee migrants, who are harmful. They were even not allowed to go out for shopping and other necessities. Government did little in the beginning to protect their lives and properties. Long-term Impact: Covid-19 will also have long-term impacts on migration. We see that Covid19-related layoffs has targeted migrant workers, many of whom are on temporary visas.

BASUG belongs to Bangladesh Civil Society for Migrants (BCSM), a platform of 16 civil society organisations of Bangladesh in a joint statement has appealed to the UN Secretary General to call upon the international agencies such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other development partners to create a Global fund under the auspices of the United Nations to support the countries of origin in the rehabilitation of the returnee migrants following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

In a joint statement issued in Dhaka BCSM requested the Secretary General to mobilise the Global Migration Group to champion the cause of vulnerable migrants affected by Covid 19.

GLAC & GAMF web conference on ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Migration and Development’ held The Global Leadership Academy (GLAC) and the Global Academy on Migration and Development (GAMD) held their first joint web conference on the “Impact of COVID-19 on Migration and Development” on May 15, 2020.

The key speakers were: Mai Dizon-Anonuevo, Executive Director of GAMD, Bikash Chowdhury Barua, Director GAMD, Efrain Jimenez, Director GAMD and Paul Asquith of AFFORD, UK.

The web conference discussed in length among others the impact of COVID-19 on the situation of the migrants; challenges and assistance they are being provided; impact of the pandemic on migration and development initiatives and post-COVID 19 scenario.

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