COVID-19 and the Returnees from the Middle East


The RMMRU and MFA study assessed the situation of Bangladeshi migrants in the Gulf countries during the COVID-19 crisis and examined the repatriation process carried out by the Government of Bangladesh. It analysed the factors which forced the workers to return, their job status at the time of return, support they received from authorities of the countries of destination and Bangladesh missions, employers and others. It also examined the process of repatriation and reception accorded to them upon return to Bangladesh.

The study involved telephone survey of 300 Bangladeshi returnee migrant workers. The respondents were reached through RMMRU’s partners in four districts: Tangail, Dhaka, Cumilla and Faridpur. A sub-sample of 30 participants was selected for in-depth interviewing.

Project Working Location

Some important findings are: (a) non-payment or irregular payment of wages was pervasive after the outbreak of pandemic; (b) three-quarters of the respondents could not continue with their work and a quarter of those who did had to settle for reduced wages; (c) almost half of the returnee migrants were involuntarily returned or deported and more than half those were deprived of their due wages and other entitlements; (d) the services of Bangladesh embassies were deemed to be inadequate, (e) after return to Bangladesh most of the returnees did not receive the support offered by the Government of Bangladesh, and (f) lack of work opportunities and other forms of support to re-integrate in Bangladesh has been the prime reasons for four-fifths of the respondents to consider re-migrate.