Covid-19 Induced Exacerbated Problems and the Vicious Circle of Migrants’ Household Poverty in Bangladesh: A Case Study
Keywords:Bangladeshi Migrants, Covid-19, GCC Countries, Policy Suggestions, Southeast Asia, Vicious Circle
Before the Covid-19 current migrant workers who worked in informal sector encountered multiple problems in their host countries while the majority of returning and the aspirant migrants also encountered multiple problems in their origin countries. Within these problems a majority of them reduced poverty and led improved living standards. This article has tried to explore an association between the accelerated problems induced by the Covid-19 and migrant households’ poverty through the application of ‘vicious circle of poverty’ approach developed by Ragnar Nurkse (1953). It finds that the Covid-19 has rigorously affected the informal employment sector of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Southeast Asian countries - two major hubs of Bangladeshi migrant workers - where mainly unskilled and low-skilled migrant workers are employed. The migrants who are already employed in informal sector have acutely faced job loss, underpayment, non-payment, accommodation, health, etc. related problems while the returning and the aspirant migrants have also acutely faced unemployment, underemployment, financial crisis, debt, etc. that they faced before the pandemic but did not face acutely. Due to acute problems, remittance inflows to the current and the returning migrants’ household have significantly been reduced which has propelled migrant households’ members to take loan and sell distressed assets in maintaining Covid-19 induced livelihoods and paying previous debt, and thus the majority of migrants’ household have fallen in a vicious circle of poverty. The aspirant migrants have also fallen in a circle of poverty as they have spent a substantial amount of money for migration but failed to migrate and earn. To reduce poverty incidence of migrants’ household and protect them from falling into poverty in future the article has identified some issues and suggested policy strategies of each issue.
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