This post was originally shared on the MISTY project website, on 13 July 2020.
Researchers at MISTY’s partner institute, the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), Dhaka, have this month published an important Policy Brief which presents the findings of a qualitative survey of 50 Bangladeshi migrants recently returned from different labour receiving countries after the outbreak of COVID-19. Many of these migrant workers were arbitrarily returned home and a significant portion of their wages and other benefits remain unpaid.
The study found that although many of them had valid visas and work permits, three-quarters (78%) of Bangladeshi migrants who returned after the outbreak of Covid -19 were forcibly sent home. The study further found that 74% of returning migrants left behind substantial resources in terms of unpaid wages, benefits and other dues. On average the affected migrants lost 175,000 Bangladeshi Taka (approx. 2,060 US dollars/ 1,800 Euros) in remittances.
A significant number of the migrants who were forcibly returned were held in detention centres before being sent home, and all, without exception, described the return journey as traumatic. RMMRU’s study highlights the vulnerability of migrant work forces in crisis situations and reinforces the need to do more to ensure their rights and protection.
The broader aim of this study is then to convince Bangladeshi policy-makers of the need to document the experiences of migrant workers who have been forced to return in the wake of COVID-19, in order to develop emergency guidelines for their protection in future emergency situations.
The full text of this Policy Brief can be found here on the RMMRU website.