Bangladeshi labor in overseas job market: need quality than number

The year 2008 saw a staggering number of 900,000 Bangladeshi labors migrating for overseas jobs. In 2014, this number plummeted to 378,000. Under such a situation, the government needs to consider and take proper decisions to increase overseas employment. This is vital for reducing the national unemployment rate. Overseas migrants generate income for Bangladesh which is momentous for the country’s economic growth and creates further opportunities for employment. In the meantime, it has been observed that despite the decrease in the overseas employment, migrants earned a remittance that surpass all other remittance values of the past three decades.

There are many reasons for Bangladesh being unable to send the appropriate number of migrants abroad as an addition to the overseas labor market. However, it is expected that the index will rise this year since the government has signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with KSA. According to the MoU, KSA will employ a huge number migrants of both sexes in various trades. At the initial stage, female migrants will apply for the Domestic Aid (domestic worker) via KSA, this means that these migrants have done preparatory work. Migrant experts claim that via this MoU, our labor market KSA will be re-opened and enable Bangladeshi migrants to acquire jobs. In addition, the government of Bangladesh has been trying to explore labor market for overseas employment over the world.


The FIFA world cup Football 2022 is set to be held in Qatar and subsequently, the country has commenced to build infrastructure for the FIFA. Qatar is only country which is mostly dependent on overseas labor for their construction development. This could be a scope for many Bangladeshi migrants to find employment as laborers.

The world political situation and economic issue are major factors for employment of international job replacement. For example, the political conflict of 2011 compelled a large number of Bangladeshi labors to come back without any prior notice. Only if the government proactively plays its role and ensures effective labor management, it can assist in enhancing employment and result in a continuous positive flow.

Worldwide economic crisis and political unrest have, in the past couple years, led to a decrease in want of overseas labor within the countries of Middle East. Additionally, the problems within Bangladesh also act as hindrance for the migrants to access overseas job market. The labor receiving countries set little condition for Bangladeshi labor which also tarnished the image of our country. Example: recently G2G (Government to Government MoU) initiative between Bangladesh government Vs Malaysian government where the Malaysian government proposed few condition for Bangladeshi labor.

Many Bangladeshi labor migrants migrated without per-plan. Unable to calculate social and economic profit (or loss) for overseas employment ,many take help from middleman. As a result, they pay a substantial amount of money and even lose their homestead due to the influence of middleman.  However, only accurate information and preparation can lead to successful and legal migration.

Taken from the survey of a Bangladeshi NGO ( which works for labor rights), it has been revealed that on average 1 migrant out of every 4 fail to become a labor migrant. The rural people of Bangladesh end up being deceived due to lack of information and lack of facilities in preparatory stage for potential migrants. In many cases, lack of both
good governance ( in migration management) and laws and legislations lead to  Bangladeshi Migrants becoming sufferers .

Overseas labor migration is an opportunity for an over populated country like Bangladesh. This is important to send labor in legal and safe way. It surely is the proper way without any hassle and also profitable for the migrants.  In other alternative ways, migrants maybe harassed, pay high migration cost, face unexpected accidents and even may end up dead. An example whould be the shocking and brutal news of Bangladeshi migrants (who attempted to migrate illegally to Malaysia) being stranded on sea, kidnapped, beaten to death .

Government should take proper measures and prepare the citizens who want to become migrant laborers. They should be well trained and prepared accordingly to obtain opportunity to go for overseas labor market. Based on labor demand, this preparation will help the government in future. Though our government established few training center for oversees employment, the quality is inadequate. In addition, grassroots people are oblivious to the services provided by government training centers. Furthermore, development of language skill should be available for the intending migrants before departure. Sadly these facilities are unavailable in Bangladesh.

According to the BBS (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistic 2012),  over 2 million people enter the main stream workforce per year. Our government may manage job for only .30 million people but each year about .50 million people depart Bangladesh for overseas job. This situation really guides us to think over new job creation and explore the abroad.

However, a ray of hope exists since Bangladesh government has adopted “National Skill Policy 2011’’.  Based on this policy and overseas demand, we should work to attain skills for sustainable and profitable labor migration. Government should revise/ oversee all terms and conditions of MoU before sending labor. It is desirable that a large number of labor from our country should work abroad and send remittance for the nation’s wellbeing. The migration, however, should not be unsafe and non-profitable. We have to ensure safety and dignitary of migrants as human beings. Quality always comes first than number and following this notion can establish rights, dignity, generate profit and provide a better image of our country.

Writer is a NGO official

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