Over one lakh migrant workers return home last year

Over one lakh migrant workers of Bangladesh came back home in 2019 either by getting undocumented or facing other problems and amid growing uncertainties for them in host countries. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deported about 30,000 Bangladeshi workers last year though many of them had valid work permits, said returnees.

The KSA deported over 100 Bangladeshi workers every day since January 1. Bangladesh High Commission in Kula Lumpur said that about 51,000 undocumented Bangladeshi workers came back from Malaysia under the Back for Good amnesty that expired on December 31. When asked about data of returnees, Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training director general Shamsul Alam told New Age Thursday that the BMET had no credible data of the returnee migrants. He said that the number of returnee migrants was lower compared to those who migrated in 2019.

According to airport immigration, over 62,000 workers of Bangladesh returned home in 2019 with travel permits issued from Bangladesh missions abroad. Travel permits were issued to those undocumented migrant workers who were deported by the destination countries, said officials.

A good number of female workers were deported in 2019, mostly by the KSA as victims of sexual abuse, they said. Apart from Malaysia and the KSA, other countries, especially Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE, the Maldives and Brunei also deported Bangladeshi migrants including females, they said.

Bangladesh Civil Society for Migration co-chair Syed Saiful Haque said that mostly undocumented Bangladeshi migrant workers were deported by Malaysia and the KSA. Replying to a question, he said that the government should ensure their jobs in destination countries before sending the workers.

Migrant right activist Al Amin Noyon told New Age that as information officer of BRAC migration programme at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport he provided emergency services to the returnee migrants. He said that many migrants were forced to return home from Saudi Arabia and other countries although they had valid work permits.

The expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry statistics show a total of 65,372 Bangladeshi migrants were deported in 2019. The ministry data also shows the number of deportees were 68,382 in 2018, 50,148 in 2017, 41,626 in 2016, 56,674 in 2015, and 47,261 in 2014.