Bangladesh Breaks Records in Foreign Employment Despite Challenges2 min read

Bangladesh has achieved a remarkable milestone in the arena of foreign employment. The country has set a new record for the number of workers sent abroad, surpassing all previous figures, according to data from the Bureau of Manpower, Employment, and Training (BMET). Until November 29 this year, a staggering 1.204 million workers have reportedly been sent abroad, exceeding last year’s record of 1.135 million.

This accomplishment reflects Bangladesh’s continued commitment to providing opportunities for its workforce on the global stage.

This year’s labor migration trend showcases a positive aspect with a record number of workers dispatched to non-traditional destinations such as Italy and the UK, diverging from the conventional Middle East markets. However, amidst this success, challenges persist, particularly for workers in Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia, where the prevalence of fake job offers poses obstacles to securing employment.

Despite the surge in overseas employment, concerns arise as remittance flows have not seen a corresponding increase. Over the past two years, remittances have plateaued at just under $22 billion. Migration experts and bankers attribute this disparity to the prevalence of low-skilled occupations, the use of illegal money transfer channels (hundi), and the proliferation of fraudulent job offers targeting unskilled workers.

The revival of overseas job opportunities in 2023 is linked to the reopening of the Malaysian labor market after a four-year hiatus. With 328,000 workers hired, Malaysia stands as the second-highest employer after Saudi Arabia, spanning various sectors, including manufacturing, construction, services, plantations, agriculture, mining, and household services.

Italy has recorded the highest single-year recruitment of 16,297 workers, particularly in agriculture, hospitality, and manufacturing. The UK has also experienced a surge in recruitment, with a record 9,427 workers hired, mainly in roles such as caregivers, domestic staff, and hospitality personnel. South Korea and Singapore have also witnessed a notable increase in Bangladeshi workers this year.

Amid the success story, alarming allegations from workers regarding fake job offers have surfaced. A recent study by the Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit (RMMRU) reveals that over 35% of migrant workers who went abroad post-Covid-19 had to return home within one to 16 months due to unfulfilled job promises.

The issue of illegal remittance channels remains a concern, prompting calls for initiatives to facilitate expatriate workers in sending remittances through legal channels. Addressing the challenges faced by undocumented workers abroad is crucial, ensuring they can send remittances without fear of legal consequences. As Bangladesh navigates these complexities, the resilience and success in foreign employment underscore the nation’s commitment to providing opportunities for its workforce on the global stage.

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