2 years ago

Bangladesh sends 617,209 workers abroad in 2021

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Bangladesh sent more than 600,000 workers abroad in the just concluded calendar year (2021) despite the Covid-19 pandemic, achieving more than 183 per cent growth in the sector than that of previous year (2020).

Statistics available with the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) showed that 617,209 Bangladeshi found jobs in different countries in 2021.

On the other hand, manpower recruiters could send only 217,669 workers in 2020, according to the official count. Vital job-destination countries had suspended air travel for a certain time to check spread of the coronavirus infection. So, the outflow of workers came down drastically in that year.

Officials said if the present trend continues, Bangladesh would be able to send more than 1.0 million workers current year.

As per the BMET data, a total of 131,316 workers went abroad in December 2021, and 102,861 in November 2021.

Presently, Saudi Arabia is the largest job market for Bangladesh, which is hiring workers under an extended quota. This is the main reason behind the rise in overseas employment.

Saudi Arabia increased job quota for Bangladeshi workers to 40 per cent from 30 per cent in the private sector in 2021.

The Arab nation hired about 74 per cent of the total workers, sent by Bangladesh last year. The figure showed that 457,227 workers went to Saudi Arabia during the period.

Bangladesh sends workers mainly to 17 to 18 countries. Of those, majority of the workers went to the gulf nations.

Md Shahidul Alam, director general of the BMET, hoped that the number of overseas employment would cross 1.0 million this year, if the present migration trend continues.

If Malaysia begins recruitment, about 200,000 workers are estimated to go to the country current year, he mentioned.

"So, we can expect a total of 1.2 million overseas jobs in 2022," the BMET chief added.

The official statistics revealed that Oman took the second highest number of workers (55,009) from Bangladesh, followed by the United Arab Emirates 29,202, Singapore 27,875, Jordan 13,816, and Qatar 11158.

Hopefully, the trend in outflow of workers would continue this year, said manpower recruiters.

The recruiters also said they are working with demands, especially from Saudi Arabia, adding that Bangladesh should explore more jobs in others destination countries.

Migrant rights activists, however, emphasised quality migration than number of jobs.

They said the government should properly ensure good working environment and benefits for the migrant workers. Market analysis is important before sending workers, so that they do not suffer in the destination countries.

Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP) Chairman Shakirul Islam said 'visa trading' should be stopped to ensure safe and orderly migration.

Workers are forced to pay high recruitment charges and face different forms of harassments and tortures because of such unethical practices, he observed.

More than 13 million Bangladeshi workers have found jobs abroad since 1976. The workers annually send about US$20 billion home as remittance. Remittance is Bangladesh's second largest source of foreign exchange earnings after its textile industry.

Officials are hopeful over increasing remittance inflow in the coming days, following the healthy growth of overseas employment as well as enhancement of incentive rate to 2.5 per cent from 2.0 per cent for remittance senders.

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