Bobita Kormokar, a returnee female migrant worker, now living at Savar area of Dhaka district, expressed her grievance regarding wage theft. She has failed to collect due wages of 28 months from her employer located at Saudi Arabia. She had no place to share her wage theft before leaving that country. Julekha, another returnee who stayed Jordan for long, had to surrender her 05 months' salary. The employer in the United Arab Emirates insisted that Bangladeshi worker named Amit had taken leave without pay. Amit -- an inhabitant of Narsingdi district - returned to Bangladesh empty pocket. In another case, a man from Cumilla returned home without his dues amounting to Taka 6,70,120 which was to be paid by the Omanbased company. A Malaysian company dismissed Jaforullah when COVID-19 was detected in that country without paying his dues. These incidents of wage theft was reveled at a webinar titled "Online National Dialogue on Justice for Wage Theft Campaign'' held recently. WARBE Development Foundation- a welfare association for the rights of Bangladeshi emigrants- organized the program aiming to seek verdict on behalf of unpaid returnee migrant workers. Actually, a series of wage theft cases experienced by migrant workers abroad is not new voice. Such type of heinous activity had been going on abroad since long. Currently, the wage theft had been turned into hot issue mainly for receiving thousand complaints at a time. Basically, the employers, belonging to Middle Eastern countries, launched unholy move in the aim of making hefty profit. Besides, exploitation of workers by employers is on the rise. The stock of complaints filed by migrant works reached skyrocketing but timely judgment is rarely noticed. If the long-pending issues regarding wage theft remain unsettled, the impact might fall on remittance flow. Wage theft is term used when wages that is lawfully owed to workers gets withheld by their employers. Thousand of wage theft cases had so far been lodged by the victims but start of trial session goes uncertain. If the migrant workers, who have faced wage theft recently, do not get speedy judgment, they never decide to rejoin their works abroad. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Bangladeshi workers employed abroad have been forced to return home seeing no alternative to survive. They mostly faced the same fate. According to the people familiar with migrant affairs, returnee migrant workers landed on their motherland leaving behind million dollars wages and service benefit. Sadly saying, returnee migrant workers showed inability to provide immediate cash support to their dependents just after landing Bangladesh. The returnees faced untold sufferings during pandemic time while on or off jobs, I was lucky enough to hear from victims from the session being as roving guest. Over six lakh migrant workers returned to Bangladesh after losing jobs or had failed to be paid by their employers. The deportation of migrant workers became rampant as the pandemic spread across the globe. Of the total returnee migrant workers, around 70 percent are struggling to find new employment. There is a possibility of another 2 (two) lakh workers of returning home.In my opinion, if such trend persists longer, Bangladesh -- known as an emerging economy -- might fall into a risky situation due to poor inflow of foreign remittance. Nevertheless, Bangladesh, a fastest growing economy among south Asian countries, is set to lose million dollars remittance for wage theft reason that is being held around the world in broad daylight. The study revealed by WARBE foundation said that the wages from 2 to 9 months had not been paid. In Bangladesh, returnees on an average lost about 175,000 taka ($2,000), according to a study by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit. To note that around 47 percent returnee migrant workers are totally out of earnings sources- the presentation said.

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