Vulnerable Less-Skilled In-Country Returnee Migrants and MSMEs Need More Support

In-country returnee migrants are among the most vulnerable communities amid COVID-19 in the country, observed Ferdaus Ara Begum, CEO, BUILD. She said that around 4.5 lacs external migrants have returned to the country amid the pandemic, somehow might have some savings. In contrast, in-country migrants are more vulnerable and almost jobless. She was speaking in a virtual dialogue on Enhancing Opportunities for In-country Returnee Migrants and MSMEs: A Case of Southwest Bangladesh on 20 September 2021 organised by Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) in collaboration with PROKAS, British Council and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), UK. While there are programs for overseas returnee migrants, in-country migrants are often under the radar for dedicated stimulus support. She also shed light on the BUILD study on the domestic in-country returnee migrants in the Mongla-Bagerhat region.

The objectives of the dialogue were to share the findings of the BUILD’s survey about in-country returnee migrants from Southwest Bangladesh with relevant stakeholders, understand their views, and discuss and deliberate on potential courses of action for improving the situation.

Sharifa Khan, Secretary (Industry and Energy Division), Planning Commission as the Chief Guest of the dialogue, said that new employment opportunity is a major factor of in-country migration in the country. She referred to the Reintegration of Returnee Migrants program of the government of BDT 427 crore to provide skill-based training and financial support to the returnee migrants in FY 2020-21. She said that the vulnerable in-returnee migrants could be included in the program. She also referred to the rigorous countrywide training programs under Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Centre (BITAC), which can facilitate the unemployed male and female people in the country. She said that the government had announced several programs under financial support and skill development programs for the marginal inhabitants and other targeted groups. She noted that the internal and external affected migrants could communicate with the Wage Earners’ Welfare Board (WEWB) to receive support. She also raised the aspect of migration opportunities and requested to produce specific proposals so that they could be adequately reached.

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