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Bangladesh emerges 6th largest migrant sending and 8th largest remittance receiving country

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 2nd December, 2021 04:33:15 PM
  • Print news
• World grows with 281 million migrants
• Bangladesh is the 6th largest migrant sending country
• Bangladeshis abroad sent home over $18 billion in 2019
• Despite COVID-19, $21.76 billion remittances injected into Bangladesh economy in 2020 
 

There was a dramatic increase in internal displacement due to disasters, conflict and violence in 2020, but global mobility overall, ground to a halt due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. 

That is the main finding of the flagship World Migration Report 2022, launched on Wednesday by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The report focuses on developments in migration over the last two-year period, with an emphasis on providing analysis that takes into account historical and contemporary factors.

According to the report released globally on Wednesday, there were around 281 million international migrants in the world in 2020. Bangladesh is the 6th largest migrant sending country globally, and the 8th largest remittance receiving country.

For IOM's Director General, António Vitorino, the world is "witnessing a paradox not seen before in human history.” “While billions of people have been effectively grounded by COVID-19, tens of millions of others have been displaced within their own countries,” he said.

The number of air passengers globally dropped 60 per cent in 2020 to 1.8 billion (down from 4.5 billion in 2019) while at the same time internal displacement due to disaster, conflict and violence rose to 40.5 million (up from 31.5 million in 2019).

The report highlights that in 2020, 7.40 million Bangladeshi migrants lived abroad. Despite living beyond the country’s borders, Bangladesh’s diaspora has continued to play a key role in the country’s economic development.

The report notes an overall increase in remittances in recent decades, from $126 billion in 2000, to $702 billion in 2020.

The World Bank estimates that the Bangladeshi population abroad sent home over USD 18 billion in 2019, with 73 per cent coming from those working in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. These remittances account for over 6 per cent of GDP, representing the country’s second largest source of foreign income.

The efforts by policymakers to encourage and facilitate the sending of remittances have greatly aided the remittance landscape in Bangladesh.

The Central Bank of Bangladesh more than tripled the ceiling on its 2019 cash incentive scheme – whereby remittance beneficiaries receive a 2 per cent bonus on transfers made using formal systems – up to USD 5,000.

Additionally, some commercial banks are providing an additional one per cent incentive to increase the attractiveness of sending remittances even more.

“In 2020, despite the impact of COVID-19 which slowed remittance flows globally, Bangladesh benefitted USD 21.76 billion injected into the economy through remittances. Overall, international migration has been a critical part of the development story of Bangladesh, with migrants moving to pursue opportunities for economic and social, and then helping raise the living standards in the home” said Fathima Nusrath Ghazzali, IOM Bangladesh’s Officer In Charge.

A  large  number  of  international migrants in Gulf countries,  many  of  whom  are  temporary  labour  migrants,  come  from  India  and  Bangladesh. An estimated 3.5 million Indians and more than 1 million Bangladeshis were living in the United Arab Emirates in 2020, reads the report.

Saudi Arabia was also the destination of over 2.5 million migrants from India and over 1 million from Bangladesh.

With the largest number of international emigrants in the world, India continues to be the biggest recipient of international remittances globally. In 2020, the country recorded USD 83 billion in international remittances. 

Bangladesh also rank among the world’s top 10 remittance recipients, receiving USD 26 billion and USD 22 billion in 2020, Bangladesh defied projections and saw significant increases in remittances in 2020.

The World Migration Report 2022, the eleventh in IOM’s World Migration Report series, draws upon the latest data from around the world to explain key migration trends as well as issues that are emerging on the migration policy horizon.

According to the report, the number of international migrants has grown from 84 million globally in 1970 to 281 million in 2020, although when global population growth is factored in, the proportion of international migrants has only inched up from 2.3 per cent to 3.6 per cent of the world’s population.

 The vast majority of people globally (96.4 per cent) reside in the country in which they were born. Due to COVID-19, the number of international migrants in 2020 was lower, by around 2 million, than it otherwise would have been.

The World Migration Report now has an expanded array of report materials for a digital age. The online interactive platform allows users to explore and interact with key data in a highly visual and engaging way. The 2020 edition won gold in the 2021 International Annual Report Design Awards earlier this year.

The 2022 edition now has a new and simple fact-checkers' toolkit to help bust key myths on migration. In addition to data analysis, the report covers specific topics for those readers needing more in-depth content.

Topics covered include migration and slow-onset climate change; peace and development links to migration; human trafficking in migration pathways; COVID-19 impacts; disinformation about migration; migrants’ contributions in an era of disinformation; and, artificial intelligence and migration, which are timely and highly relevant for both specialist and general audiences.