Sources and Definitions
Population (2010): 164.4 million
Area: 143,998 sq km
Language: Bangla (Bengali)
Currency: Taka (BDT)
GDP per Capita PPP (2007): USD 1,241
HDI Rank (2007): 146 of 182
Remittances (2008): USD 8,995 million
Net Migration Rate (2005-2010): -0.7 migrants /1,000 population
Immigrants (2010): 0.7%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants (2010): 13.9%
Population under 15 (2010): 30.9%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2007): <0.1%
For Bangladesh, international migration is a prominent livelihood option and an essential feature in its economic landscape. Like many other developing countries, Bangladesh depends largely on the overseas employment market to substitute the high unemployment rate in the country. Since the 1970s, migration has been on an increasing trend in Bangladesh with exponential growth recorded in the last decade. According to official records, in 1976, 6,087 workers went abroad, while in 2008 the number peaked to 875,000 workers and in 2009, about 475,000 workers migrated through official channels. Similarly, remittances, which have emerged as the highest source of foreign exchange earnings for the country, have also been growing to reach a record high of approximately $10.72 billion in FY 2009. However, in spite of important contributions made by migrant workers to the economy and development of the country, they still remain a vulnerable population in Bangladesh, often vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. This is particularly true for women labour migrants, who face significant barriers throughout the entire migration process, starting from the time of departure until their return and reintegration to the country of origin.
Currently, the major destinations are to the Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Iraq, Libya, Bahrain, Iran, Lebanon) and South-east Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Brunei). Saudi Arabia alone accounts for nearly half of the total number of workers who have emigrated from Bangladesh. The labour market for Bangladeshi workers is not static. During the 1970s, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and Libya were among the major destination countries. While Saudi Arabia remains the most important destination country, Malaysia and UAE have also emerged as important destination countries. The government is currently engaging in bilateral agreements and discussions to explore new markets, including Japan, among others, in order to boost labour migration and overseas employment.
The Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment is the nodal ministry responsible for overseas employment and migrants' welfare and protection. Some important measures are being taken by the Ministry for skills development, pre-departure orientation, remittance channeling and labour migrants' welfare. With support from IOM, Migrants' Resource Centres (MRC) and Market Research Unit (MRU) have been established and training programmes for labour attaches have been carried out. The Government has recently decided to set up an Expatriates' Welfare Bank to support migration cost and smooth remittance transfer.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is working closely with the Government in supporting various capacity building programmes such as establishment of Expatriate Workers Welfare Desks, training of labour attaches and other officials, informations campaigns, development of training manuals, etc.
Publications and reports
The Global Economic Crisis: Impact on Women Labour Migration in Bangladesh
Labour Attaché Training I - Workshop Report
Labour Attaché Training II - Workshop Report
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the country pages are prepared by the respective IOM Missions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the governments.