Bangladeshi migrant workers sent around US$1.45 billion more remittance through formal channel during the COVID-19 period, a study has found.
It said the demand for hundi money (informal channel) to purchase visa declined in the pandemic as the host countries stopped recruiting workers.
The study findings were disclosed on Wednesday at a dissemination webinar of the book ‘The Other Face of Globalization: COVID-19, International Labour Migrants and Left-behind Families in Bangladesh’.
Bangladesh Civil Society for Migrants (BCSM) and Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) jointly organised the event.
The book highlights the study findings regarding the challenges of Bangladeshi migrants due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The study surveyed 200 male and female migrants, carried out in-depth interview of 25 involuntarily returned migrants and 30 left-behind female members of migrant households.
RMMRU founding chair Professor Tasneem Siddiqui presented the key findings of the study in the webinar.
She said the inward remittance increased significantly last year due to different factors, including a fall in visa trading.
Besides, government’s 2.0 per cent cash incentive, uncertainty of stay and permanent return of the migrants, and a decrease in capital goods imports (over-invoicing and under-invoicing) contributed to the rise in remittance inflow, Professor Siddiqui added.
She also said although the inward remittance increased in the country, some 61 per cent of the surveyed migrant households did not receive remittance.
Households are managing their day to day expenditure in different ways, such as taking loans, relying on other family members’ incomes, taking help from others and cutting costs, she said.
The research observed that the norms and standards of ethical globalisation in the case of migrant workers are yet to emerge.
In the absence of fruitful multilateralism, origin and destination countries addressed COVID-19 situation bilaterally. No grievance documentation system was operational during the crisis.
The book underscored the need for framing policies both at origin and destination countries to protect the migrants during emergency.
Prof C R Abrar, chair of the BCSM and executive director of RMMRU, moderated the programme.
Chairperson of BRAC Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman unveiled the book.
Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary, chairperson of Bangladesh Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development, rights activists, among others, spoke on the occasion.