Altaf Hossain of Noakhali also returned for the same reason. After going to several countries, he arrested by the police and in the end had to return home. He has started a livestock farm with help of Tk 250,000 from BRAC. He is not earning from this yet. He is struggling to cover costs of the farm and so he wants to get the expatriate loan. He said, “I can barely run my family. I went to the bank once but didn’t get the loan.”

A fresh start after losing everything

Masud Mia was in the UAE for 13 years. He spent all his savings in building a house in his village and arranging money for the marriage ceremonies of his brothers and sisters. He was sent back to the country without receiving eight months’ salary. Being in deep trouble after returning, he took a loan from the Probashi Kallyan Bank. He has opened a general store and fruit shop at Ishwarganj in Mymensingh. He sells about Tk 5,000 to 6,000 a day. Excluding all expenses, he is earning about Tk 12,000 per month. He said, “I could not pay the first month installment, but I will definitely repay the loan.”

These expatriates are saying, they are seeing that they can lead a solvent life by working in the country too. If their small initiatives are successful, other unemployed expatriates will also be encouraged. If they want, they can also take loans from the bank and take such initiatives now. This will also bring prosperity to their families.

When asked about this, Tasneem Siddiqui, the founder of the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), told Prothom Alo that turning around with the help of loans is certainly promising. However, this needs to be expanded further. If necessary, the loan facility should be extended to more expatriates by involving development partners.

*This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ashish Basu

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