Italy returnees plunge into further uncertainty | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 30, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:56 AM, October 30, 2020

Italy returnees plunge into further uncertainty

Face stiff challenges in rejoining work as Italy imposes fresh restrictions amid rise in Covid cases

Italy-bound expatriates are facing challenges to get back to their workplaces as many are still waiting for air tickets.

The situation has become more complicated with a recent surge in positive coronavirus cases in the European country.

The expatriates had remained stuck at home for several months and are going through financial hardship.

Italy recorded over 24,991 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday. The number of such cases was 2,548 on October 1, according to media reports.

On Sunday, Italy President Giuseppe Conte announced a new decree valid until November 24 that includes nationwide closure of gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and theatres. Bars and restaurants have to stop serving by 6:00 in the evening.

Conte said the measures were aimed at averting the need for another national lockdown, reported Ansa, a reputed wire service in Italy.

Stranded Bangladeshi expatriates said further delay in their return might put them in additional economic hardship, while this also could jeopardise their future in Italy.

Sohel Hasan, an expatriate from Shariatpur's Naria, said he returned home from Italy on January 1, but could not go back despite repeated attempts in last nine months.

Sohel, who works at a restaurant in Rome, was waiting at the Turkish Airlines office in the capital's Gulshan on Monday to get his return ticket reissued.

The expatriate said he saw news reports on social media regarding a rise in coronavirus cases in Italy.

"I'm already facing financial problems. If the new lockdown is imposed and I fail to return to Italy now, then this will be even a bigger problem for me," he added.

He said when he came home in January, he carried "ricevuta", a receipt which he needs to summit before the authorities concerned in Italy immediately to get his stay permit renewed.

In July, Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh (ATAB) said around 12,000 to 15,000 Bangladeshi workers were waiting to go back to Italy.

They could not return until the Italy government lifted the embargo for Bangladeshis on October 14.

At present, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Emirates are carrying Bangladeshis to Italy.

Ejaz Kadry, agent, sales and traffic (Intl) of Turkish Airlines, said they had reissued about 700 return tickets to Italy-bound Bangladeshis until Monday.

He also said they were expecting that 1,000 more return tickets would be reissued in the 10 days from last Monday.

Expatriate Khaled Mosharraf, who lives in Rome, said if the Italian government imposes new nationwide restrictions anytime soon, then he might only get the chance to return once the situation becomes normal.

"But there are income issues," he said, adding that his family in Brahmanbaria has been in financial trouble amid the pandemic.

"I see no alternative but to return to Italy now to earn money," said Khaled, who returned home on February 6 on a two-month holiday.

Italy is home to about 1.45 lakh Bangladeshis with valid documents. Besides, an estimated 20,000 more undocumented Bangladeshis live there.


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