Migration of Bangladeshi workers abroad may break all previous records in 2022, expanding range of destinations and ensuring long-term economic benefits to the country.
The government has taken a number of effective steps in this regard and is now waiting to reap the fruits.
According to Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), Bangladesh sent 1,008,525 workers abroad in 2018, which is a record in the history of labour migration for the country.
The BMET data shows that some 691,017 Bangladeshi workers have gone abroad in the first seven months of this year. Of them, 109,698 workers went abroad in January, 92,569 in February, 120,316 in March, 103,975 in April, 77,421 in May, 111,539 in June while some 75,499 workers went to different countries in July.
At least 361,022 more workers went abroad in the first seven months of this year compared to the same period of the last year. In the first seven months in 2021, some 256,187 Bangladeshi workers migrated to various destinations.
Manpower experts have opined that if 75,499 workers, equal to the lowest monthly number in the first seven months, go to different countries every month in the remaining five months, 2022 will be a record breaking year in terms of sending Bangladeshi workers abroad.
They also said that Bangladesh must focus on diversifying its labour migration destinations to remain risk free amid geopolitical turmoil.
“Some 568,548 or 92.12 percent of the 691,017 workers went abroad in the first seven months this year migrated to the Gulf States. Among them, 425,563 workers went to Saudi Arabia, 97,750 to Oman and 70,203 workers to the UAE alone,” she said.
“Such dependency on a particular region can make the manpower sector vulnerable as any unrest in the Middle Eastern countries may affect the remittance earning severely,” she added.
Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, however, thinks that Bangladesh is diversifying its labour migration destinations through the reopening of the Malaysian labour market and sending workers to a number of new countries.
While talking about creating new labour markets, the Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary said, “We have begun sending workers in a number of new labour markets, including Cambodia, Uzbekistan, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Croatia and several other countries of the African continent like Senegal, Burundi and Seychelles.”
“We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Greece,” Munirus Saleheen said, adding that agreements to send Bangladeshi workers to Albania, Malta and Bosnia are also waiting to be signed.
With opening of new labour market, skill development and increased labour migration, inflow of remittance has augmented considerably.
Expatriate workers have sent $813 million remittance in the first 10 days of August. Earlier, the country received inward remittance $2.2 billion from the migrants overseas in the last month, which is the highest in the last one year, according to the central bank.
July remittance inflow registered a 17.56% growth compared to the corresponding month of the last year.
Bangladeshis staying abroad sent home over $21.03 billion in 2021-2022 fiscal. Migration sector insiders are hopeful that the inward remittance will also break all previous records in the current fiscal year.
Over 10 million Bangladeshis are living and working abroad. They are the second largest contributor of the country’s foreign exchange earnings after the readymade garment sector.