A group of 18 Bangladeshi migrants returned home yesterday from Lebanon after the International Organisation for Migration in coordination with governments of the countries facilitated their return.
They were unable to come back home on their own due to their financial hardship.
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They landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka in the morning on a flight arranged by the IOM.
Prior to their departure from Lebanon, the Bangladeshis underwent health check-ups and PCR tests, were offered pre-departure transportation assistance and counselling services, and were screened for underlying protection vulnerabilities by IOM in Lebanon, IOM Bangladesh said in a press release.
They were also provided with post-arrival reception assistance in Bangladesh and will receive reintegration support, it said.
It added that the repatriation of the migrants was part of a coordinated effort from the Bali Process, through its Voluntary Returns Support and Reintegration Assistance Programme, and IOM’s Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships for Sustainable Solutions (COMPASS) initiative funded by the Netherlands government to “support and protect stranded migrants, particularly against human trafficking and smuggling.”
A recent IOM survey on more than 1,000 migrants in Lebanon showed that nearly half wanted to return home, the release said.
With the economy in deep crisis and a political stalemate after the Lebanese government resigned following the devastating Beirut Port explosion a year ago, embassies have also seen a sharp rise in the number of migrants asking to return to their countries of origin, it added.
The results of the IOM survey showed that many migrants have lost their jobs and livelihoods due to the impact of concurrent crises in Lebanon, and an increase in exploitative practices such as non-payment of wages, unfair dismissal, or breach of contracts by employers, have subjected migrants to greater hardship, it further said.
“The economic crisis coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerabilities of Bangladeshi migrants in Lebanon,” said Giorgi Gigauri, IOM Bangladesh’s Chief of Mission.
“We will continue to work with the relevant governments, donors, and partners whose efforts are highly appreciated to facilitate voluntary return and reintegration of migrants in vulnerable situations,” he added.