Amid pressure from the middle-east countries, the government has finally taken preparations to bring back Bangladeshi expatriate workers.
As per the decision, the country will start the repatriation in a limited scale as there are huge numbers of such workers- who are convicted and do not have legal document to stay.
“The corona pandemic situation it is very tough to bring back such a huge number of people. So we persuaded them to send them in a limited scale initially,” foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told the FE.
“We are under pressure. If we do not take them back these countries will not recruit Bangladeshi workers when situation will be normal” he added.
Earlier, the minister presided over an inter-ministerial meeting held to facilitate the repatriation of Bangladeshi citizens from abroad. The meeting discussed the preparations regarding the on arrival reception and quarantine of the expats.
The meeting was told that the Armed Forces Division (AFD) in coordination with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was working to prepare quarantine centres at different places in Dhaka and other districts with a capacity of around 4000 persons for institutional quarantine.
AFD has been in close liaison with the Health Ministry and Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh for post-arrival formalities including quarantining the returnees.
It was decided that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will coordinate with the Civil Aviation Authority for smooth airport reception and ease in landing permission of special flights carrying Bangladesh nationals from different countries.
“The Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment has decided to arrange up to Tk 700,000 loan for every expatriate worker, who are forced to return to home” foreign minister said.
Besides, each worker will get a financial assistance of Tk 5000 on arrival at the airport for going to home, and the family of expatriate workers who died of corona virus will be given BDT 300,000, he added.
Among others, Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed and, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam, principal staff officer (armed forces division), chairman of civil aviation authority, secretaries and senior officials from different ministries and agencies were present at the meeting.
A range of issues relating to repatriation, nationality verification, quarantine, relief for the expatriates, coordination among departments, sending medicines and medical equipment to friendly countries, post repatriation preparedness etc. were discussed elaborately, said officials present in the meeting.
The meeting was told that as a goodwill gesture, a medical team equipped with medical gadgets and medicine from the Armed Forces Division has been sent to help Kuwait in this critical moment.
Also, as a friendly gesture, Bangladesh is sending food stuffs, medicines, medical equipment and other items to the Government of Maldives.
A consignment of medicines and medical items will be sent to Bhutan shortly. Bangladesh is also planning to send similar items to other countries in need.
The UAE has expressed keen interest to import food items from Bangladesh and work is underway to coordinate with all concerned to materialize this.