Specific Budgetary Allocation for Migrants, Their Families Demanded

A group of Bangladeshi migrant rights organizations on Saturday demanded specific allocation in the national budget for the migrant workers and their family members.

The organizations also demanded enhanced allocation for the migration sector including the migrants who were coming back home losing jobs abroad due to corona pandemic.

In a joint statement, BRAC, BNSK, IID, OKUP, WARBE, Awaj Foundation, BNPS, BOMSA, DECOM, IMA, Karmajibi Nari, MJF, Migration News and BASUG said that there was no specific allocation in the proposed budget of 2020-2021 fiscal for the migrant workers and their families.

They mentioned that the remittance has been the strongest indicator for Bangladesh economy and the migrant workers sent Tk 1380 billion in 2018-19 fiscal and Tk 1387 billion in 2019-20 fiscal.

Despite the global crisis of the COVID-19, the country’s migrants kept on sending their remittances back to Bangladesh, the statement said.

‘During this crisis, the allocation of Tk 641 crore has been declared in the proposed budget for Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment ministry though migrant workers have been affected by the COVID-19,’ it said.

It can be noted that about 10 lakh Bangladeshi migrant workers might return home after losing jobs due to COVID-19 and on the other hand, 150,000 first time migrant workers were stranded in Bangladesh due to lockdown. The World Bank predicted that remittance to Bangladesh would be declined by 22 per cent this year.

On June 11 Finance Minister also declared Tk 641 crore for the EWOE ministry and Tk 500 crore for Probashi Kalyan Bank to provide loan to the returnee migrant workers. The amount was very small for the large number of migrant workers.

For reintegration, sustainable job creation and bringing affected migrants under national safety-net programmes, the migrant rights organizations demanded immediate allocation of Tk 1,000 crore for migrants and their families.

They also urged the government to keep increasing incentives on remittance receipts.

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