DHAKA, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh suffered a big blow as employment opportunities for the country's millions of foreign job aspirants came to a near halt so far this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of Bangladeshis heading overseas to work has plummeted by nearly 55 percent in the first eight months of this year as job opportunities have almost dried up in major job markets, according to a government official.
Bangladeshi Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam told journalists Monday that "181,273 Bangladeshis found jobs abroad in January-August this year, down from 406,962 during the same period in 2019."
He said some 141,036 workers have returned home to Bangladesh following the outbreaks of the pandemic in the major hosting countries in Middle East, Asia and elsewhere in the world.
According to the official, about 10 million Bangladeshis have currently been living and working abroad, keeping inflows of remittances still unaffected.
Bangladeshis remitted home 4.56 billion U.S. dollars in the first two months of the current 2020-21 fiscal year against 3.04 billion U.S. dollars in the same period of the previous fiscal year 2019-20 (July 2019-June 2020), central bank data showed recently.
According to the data from Bangladesh Bank (BB), the flow of inward remittances surged 35.94 percent year on year to 1,963.94 million U. S. dollars in August this year.
BB officials said the inflow of remittances, one of the key sources of foreign exchange for the nation, rose sharply in the first month of this fiscal year as non-resident Bangladeshis sent home more money for their relatives to celebrate Eid al-Adha, one of the largest Muslim festivals.
Bangladesh's remittances hit an all-time high of 18.20 billion U.S. dollars in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Most of the remittances came from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Kuwait, Britain, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, Bahrain, Italy and Australia, according to the bank. Enditem