61PC FAMILIES OF MIGRANT WORKERS RECEIVED NO REMITTANCE FOR 3 MONTHS: SURVEY
About 60 percent of the families of migrant workers did not receive any remittance over the last three months amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey report of Bangladesh Civil Society for Migration.
The amount of remittance the remaining 39 percent of the families received averaged Tk 30,000, down from Tk 47,000 per quarter in normal times, it said.
The report also revealed that the average monthly household expenditure of migrant workers' families dropped to Tk 7,300 during the pandemic from Tk 17,000 earlier.
Findings of the report were disclosed today during an e-symposium on the 'Impact of Covid-19 on International Migrant Households', jointly organised by BCSM and Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU).
The e-symposium was part of similar events by RMMRU under the banner "Build Back Better" on Covid-19 and migration.
The telephone survey was conducted on 200 families of expatriate workers from 21 districts.
The interviews were taken of members of 100 migrant workers' families.
For 57 percent of the families, remittance is the only source of income, according to the report.
For 18 percent of the households, three-fourth of the income comes from remittance, while it accounts for half of the income for 14 percent of the families, it said.
Households are managing their day-to-day expenditure by taking loans, through the income of other family members, support from others, and curtailing expenditure, the report also revealed.
Amid the scenario, the households are also going through anxieties regarding their family members abroad.
According to the report, female migrants experienced non-payment of wages, increased workload, job losses and reduced communication with family, while male migrants faced challenges regarding health, mental stress and financial hardship.
It also recommended that there is need for extended cash support to the distressed families.
The report also found 100 cases of gender-based violence in migrants' families during the pandemic.
Addressing the e-symposium as chief guest, Expatriates' Welfare Minister Imran Ahmad said challenges of returnee migrant workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic is "extraordinary" and that every labour-sending country including Bangladesh is facing the challenge.
He said a series of inter-ministerial meetings on the emerging situation of migrants has taken place.
As a result, it was possible to take several steps including ensuring loan support for the returnee migrants, their quarantine support and immediate food and cash support for overseas migrants, the minister added.
Kamal Uddin Ahmed, a full-time member of the National Human Rights Commission, said many countries repatriated migrant workers amid the pandemic which was in violation of the United Nations' call to protect everyone amid crisis.
RMMRU Chair Prof Tasneem Siddiqui said the government should announce more stimulus package for migrant workers.
Lawmaker Shameem Haider Patwary, BCSM Chair and Executive Director of RMMRU Prof CR Abrar, and BCSM Co-chair Syed Saiful Haque, among others, also addressed the e-symposium.