The government will provide employment to two lakh expatriate Bangladeshis who returned home after losing their jobs during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The government will also provide them with cash incentives.
If expatriates need a loan for becoming entrepreneurs, the government will provide it.
Besides, the government will give all kinds of assistance including necessary certificates if anyone wants to go abroad again.
As part of the move, the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment is undertaking a project titled, “Recovery and Advancement of Informal Sector Employment Retaining of Returning Migrants.”
The Wage Earners Welfare Board will implement the project by December 2023 at the initiative of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment.
On the implementation of the project, the returnees will get financial, technical and other facilities for economic rehabilitation.
Stakeholders hope to create a database of migrant workers involved in various productive activities and small businesses and returning to the country to create employment.
The total cost of the project is estimated at Tk 427.30 crore. Of this, the government has set a target of spending Tk 2.30 crore from its own funds and Tk 425 crore from a World Bank loan.
An agreement was signed with the World Bank on March 23. The project is expected to be finalised at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on July 28.
Khaleque Mallick, Joint Secretary (Planning and Development Division) of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare, said many of the workers returning from abroad are unemployed.
They are living a subhuman life with their families, he said adding, “They are also mentally disturbed and they can't do anything because of financial difficulties.”
The project has been taken considering their condition, he added.
In this regard, Mosammat Nasima Begum, a member of the Socio-Economic Infrastructure Department of the Planning Commission, said, “Once the project is implemented, orientation and counseling for the reintegration of migrant workers returning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, one-time cash payments, certification of skills through RPLs for their employment at home and abroad, and financial, technical and other facilities would be ensured.”
The main activities of the project are: orientation and counseling of 200,000 repatriated workers for rehabilitation, payment of Tk 13,500 cash assistance per worker, selecting 23,500 skilled workers who have returned from various jobs, certification and cooperation in getting jobs at home and abroad.
Besides, it will also arrange meetings at district-upazila-union level to provide financial, technical and other facilities to the returnees for rehabilitation and to provide financial assistance to the migrants for financial rehabilitation and financial assistance.
It will also organise seminars and workshops to promote publicity through the use of digital technology.
An official of the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare said the selected two lakh expatriate workers will be divided into different groups after knowing what they want to do.
As an example, he said that for someone who used to drive a car abroad, but now has no certificate, they will be given a certificate after examination from Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA).
If they want they can go abroad again with that certificate, or can have the job of driving in the country, he added.
If the employee needs financial assistance, the worker will be provided a loan through the Micro Credit Regulatory Authority (MRA), he mentioned.
If a repatriated worker expresses interest in becoming an entrepreneur, he or she will be trained at the SME Foundation and given a loan from there, he further said.
If someone shows interest in working in a big company, if he has that qualification, he will be given a job by arranging training in the Industrial Technical Support Center (BITAC), he said adding that, if the worker wants to go abroad again, that arrangement will be made.