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Bangladesh – Overseas work dwindling

18 July 2013

The number of Bangladeshis traveling abroad for work is declining due to the on-going economic crisis. Last year 45,000 workers travelled abroad each month for work. A number that has fallen to between 30,000 and 32,000 this year, according to the Dhaka Tribune.

According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment, and Training (BMET) the total number of workers that have gone abroad in the first half of the year was 208,340. During the same period in 2012, 374,837 workers went abroad, equating to a drop of -44.5%, year-on-year.

Workers travelled primarily to Oman, Qatar, and Singapore. The declining numbers are having a significant impact on the economy. According to the Bangladesh Bank, overseas workers sent more than USD 14.1 billion back to Bangladesh last year.   

Critics claim that the Bangladesh government has failed to expand into new markets, focusing too much on countries like Saudi Arabia, which has now stopped issuing visas. “Successive governments pay attention to one country only, this is a great problem,” said Tasneem Siddiqui, founding chair of the Refugee and Migratory Movements and Research Unit.

The overseas employment minister, Khandker ‘Mosharraf’ Hossain, has advised that Saudi Arabia will recruit more Bangladeshis in future; however not until the amnesty period ends on 4 November. Mosharraf added that the United Arab Emirates would restart recruitment after finalising a list of foreign workers. The formation of a new government in Malaysia delayed the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers but it is expected to resume at the end of July.      

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