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Dhaka Tribune

Report: Bangladeshi labour migration sees 13% rise, remittances up only 2.88%

  • Over 1.3 million Bangladeshi workers went abroad in 2023
  • 13% more than 2022
  • Experts stress providing proper skills training
Update : 01 Feb 2024, 12:03 PM

The number of Bangladeshi workers who migrated to different countries increased by 13% in 2023 compared to 2022, according to a report. 

However, the remittance inflow increased by only 2.88% compared to the previous year.

The Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) unveiled its annual report, titled “the Pace of Labour Migration from Bangladesh 2023: Success and Challenges,” at a press conference at the National Press Club on Wednesday. 

Md Selim Reza, full-time member, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), was present as chief guest. RMMRU founding chair Prof Tasneem Siddiqui also attended the press conference. 

Per Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) data, over 1.3 million (1,305,453) Bangladeshi workers went abroad in 2023 – 13% more than the previous year 2022.  

In 2022, 1,135,873 Bangladeshi workers went abroad. 

Despite witnessing high migration, the remittance inflow only went up by a small percentage.

Around $21.28 billion was sent to Bangladesh in remittances in 2022 and $21.92 billion in 2023 – a 2.88% increase, per the report. 

In 2020-2021, migration was extremely low due to the Covid pandemic. The situation improved in 2022. 

The workers who could not migrate during the pandemic did so in 2022 and 2023.

Besides, the number of licensed recruiting agencies for migration was 2,153 in 2023. 

There are 693 recruiting agencies that send female workers to Saudi Arabia. 

Following 50 complaints and investigations, the licences of 249 recruiting agencies have been suspended by the BMET and licences of 128 agencies have been cancelled.

Tasneem Siddiqui said: “There is a need for policy implementation to increase the priority of migrant workers. Besides, quality migration needs to be ensured and the recruitment agencies need to be more active on this matter.”

“We also need to carry out more studies to find out the reasons why migrant workers are coming back. There is also a need to make our people more skilled before migration.”

Meanwhile, Md Selim Reza discussed why Bangladeshi workers are struggling abroad and returning home. 

Providing proper skills training is pivotal to saving migrant workers from exploitation, he said. 

“Korea and Japan are the easiest countries to send workers to. These countries are very worker-friendly. Migrant workers need not spend any money to go and get a job there. The problem is with the language which our workers do not practice well. Otherwise they also frequently switch their jobs there. These are some reasons they cannot get adjusted and be permanent in countries like Korea and Japan. This is also why they are coming back.”

While talking about the quality of workers, he said: “There is a need to ensure the qualification of migrants in Bangladesh. We all have to work together to make them skilled. If we can make them skilled, our remittance inflow will increase. The government needs to ensure that every worker is skilled and everyone should know the language of a country before migrating there.”

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