90pc returnee workers cannot use job skills to earn livelihood
The vast majority of returnee migrant workers fail to utilise their skills for earning livelihood in the country due to lack of proper support mechanisms to use their work experience, a study has revealed.
They also cannot go abroad again with better jobs based on their past experience as the government has yet to take effective measures for skill certification of returnee workers, it added.
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The study titled “Economic Reintegration of Bangladeshi Returnee Migrant Workers: Prospects and Challenges” conducted by Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Programme (OKUP) showed that about 90 per cent of the workers who came back home could not use their skills for income generating activities.
“So, they are doing low-paid jobs while many others remain unemployed on their return,” said the study conducted on 250 returnee migrant workers in five upazilas of the country’s five districts during the period between November and December in 2019.
Forty-six per cent of respondents said they could return home with skills, but the rest said they could not acquire skills.
About 42 per cent of respondents said they are now unemployed while 22 per cent are doing small business like grocery shops and poultry farms, four per cent are engaged with jobs. Remaining 32 per cent returned to their old professions such as labourers in the construction and agriculture sectors.
Besides, migrant workers cannot properly use their remittances due to lack of opportunities and plans. “For these reasons, many of them face financial hardship after they return home.”
The findings of the study showed that 23 per cent of returnee migrants could earn enough money, but 77 per cent could not.
Nearly 35 per cent of the respondents said they have savings or small business. Some 29 per cent said they spent money on building or repairing houses while 7 per cent used money for marriage and rest 29 per cent for different purposes like migration of family members, marriage of siblings and children, it said.
OKUP chairman Shakirul Islam said there is no sustainable impact of the overseas employment sector on the country’s overall economy.
“We found that the workers acquired upgraded knowledge from their workplaces in construction, service and agriculture sectors abroad.”
After returning home, they did not find any such opportunity to utilise their experience. Many of them said they cannot devise plans to generate their income for the future.
Some of them have fund, but they have no better plan for investment. Especially returnee female domestic workers could not manage any jobs as their skills did not match at home.
But women can build themselves as entrepreneurs in the food industry if they get reintegration loans and necessary support.
Mr Islam suggested setting up a special body to provide all necessary cooperation to returnee migrant workers in using their skills and remittances. It will also help ensure economic development of the workers as well as the country.
He also said the government has framed different policies and acts on reintegration and skills development of returnee workers. But relevant ministries and departments made no joint efforts to enforce the guidelines.
Even though Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) launched ‘Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)’ in 2014 for assessment and certification of migrant workers, he said, it is yet to yield any visible outcome for the sector.
Mentioning that the country has no official database of returnee migrant workers, sector insiders said on average 100,000 workers return home every year from different destinations. About half of them are successful migrants.
According to the data available with BMET, more than 12 million Bangladeshi workers went abroad with jobs since 1976.