Remittance hero expatriates returned from abroad in corona crisis

Ismail Hossain Russel, Staff Correspondent,, Dhaka


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The whole world is devastated by the Covid-19. In the past, mankind has faced great crises at different times, but at the same time, it has not seen any adverse reaction in the world. But this time the whole world has dealt with the horrors of corona together which has affected the world economy. Especially the economy of Bangladesh has been greatly affected. In such a situation, the expatriate remittance heroes who are stuck in Bangladesh and return to the country after losing their jobs are in dire straits. These expatriates who have been out of work for a long time are spending their days in financial crisis.

It is learned that 95,000 workers from different countries have returned to the country due to various reasons including losing their jobs due to corona infection. This number of expatriate Bangladeshis from 26 countries has returned to the country. Most returned from the UAE. A total of 27,658 people came from the United Arab Emirates. Many of the returning workers said they were on leave. Many have also returned to the country due to the closure of the workplace due to the negative impact of the corona. They also said that they will be called back to their workplace if the situation is normal. 17,316 people came from Saudi Arabia.

2,484 expatriate workers have returned from Malaysia due to lack of work. For the same reason, 2,137 people have returned from Iraq. 2,336 expatriates have returned from Turkey. As many as 1,604 expatriate workers have returned from Singapore as their work contracts have expired. Many more expatriates have also returned from different countries.

Remittance heroes back in the country in extreme uncertainty

Expatriates returning to the country before and after corona are spending their days with their families in various financial and other problems. They said, they are spending their days with extreme uncertainty of the coming days.

Maidul Islam returned to the country from Dubai last February. Even then, corona was not identified in Bangladesh. After spending a long time in exile, he came on a three-month leave and got into trouble. A month later, due to the corona attack in Bangladesh, the air traffic was stopped and all the foreign routes of Maidul were closed. He said, 'The Company I work for in Dubai has intimated me twice but got no approval. They said they will give approval in phases, but did not say when. The last time I was told to apply for a green signal, I was told it would be known within 60 days. '
Mentioning that he is living an inhuman life because of corona, he said, "I  came on a three-months leave, then I came up with a target of cost. But all the targets have been missed. The family depends on me. I have my parents, three brothers and a wife. Now I have become a burden to the family. I was wondering if I could do a business, but it would take my help. Meanwhile, hilsa business is going well, but I don't have any capital to run my family.
Abu Hanif from Barguna returned to the country in March from Brunei. However, he could not go as the flight was canceled due to corona. Talking about financial problems, he said, "I have been unemployed for a long time, so the financial situation is very bad." Meanwhile, the visa has expired, now it is uncertain when the flight will start and when I will be able to go. If suicide was not a great sin, thousands of expatriates like me would have committed suicide. But if I can't go abroad, I think I will farm cows or chickens. But it will also depend on government assistance or getting a loan, because I have no capital.

However, many expatriates returning from abroad said that if the situation in corona suddenly will not become normal, they want to be entrepreneurs. In this case, the expatriates have demanded the government's help and easy access to loans.

Complaint of not getting a loan

any expatriates who have lost their jobs or are stuck in the country are showing interest in becoming entrepreneurs. However, in this case also we have to face obstacles. They said they are suffering from indecision due to the complexity of getting a loan. They are skeptical about the terms of the bank.

Restaurant businessman Meheraj Raja returned to Bangladesh from Portugal in January this year. Although he was supposed to go in March, he could not go due to flight closure. As a result, his residence card also expired in July. In such a situation, even though initiatives have been taken to start restaurants in Bangladesh, there have been complications in obtaining loans. In this regard, he said, in such a situation in corona, I wanted to do something in Bangladesh. Since I don't have much capital, I thought I would start with a loan. But Prabasi Kalyan Bank, which is for the expatriates, they are offering all the conditions with which loans can be taken from any other banks. And one of their conditions is to start a business first, now if I can afford to start a business then what to do with the loan. Moreover, the interest rate on their loans is 11 percent.

In this regard, the managing director of Prabasi Kalyan Bank, Mahtab Jabin told, we have all the intentions to give loans to the expatriates on easy terms. If you can fulfill the conditions of the loan and submit the appropriate documents, there is no problem in getting the loan. We are giving unsecured loan up to Taka 2 lakh, but if it is above that, collateral will be required. No matter what the formalities are for the loan but they will get the loan, there is no complication.

On the overall issue, Minister for Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Imran Ahmed told that 95,000 expatriates have returned to the country so far. We are taking the necessary steps for them. There is no problem in this case.

Those who said it is difficult to get a loan can contact me directly, he said.  All arrangements have already been taken about them. The Probashi Kalyan Bank is doing everything for this. Those who are having problems to get this loan, first we have to see if they are covered by the law.