Nearly 48% of the Bangladeshi migrant workers, who were forced to return home last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, are now dependent on loans and relatives' support in the absence of any regular source of income, says a Brac survey.
Many of them returned due to fear of getting infected, some lost jobs as companies closed operations, some returned permanently, while others returned on leave.
Many of them could not get back to their old jobs or migrate again to find a new job because of global lockdown.
This has left 98% of such returnees with severe anxiety, depression, and psychological disorders.
The other 52% have started small businesses or are working as day labourers to make a living, said the Brac Migration Program survey titled "Searching and Analysing the Socio-economic Status of Returnees."
Brac surveyed 417 Bangladeshi returnees across seven divisions from March to April 2021 to explore and analyse their socio-economic and psycho-social situation, one year after their return to Bangladesh amid the pandemic.
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The majority of the respondents were returnees from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and others returned from Italy, the UK, and Malaysia.
Around 19% of the respondents said they had returned to Bangladesh after losing their job, whereas 16% were forced to return, 16% returned due to the fear of Covid-19, 12% returned permanently, 2% returned due to illness, and 35% returned on leave.
Some 28% of the respondents claimed to be already in debt.
Nearly 5 lakh people had to return to Bangladesh from their host countries due to the pandemic which has been raging since the end of 2019, the study says.
More than 10 million Bangladeshi expatriates are working across the globe now. The country’s remittance inflow reached $22 billion last year despite the virus outbreak, the highest on record.