Although the country witnessed the highest number of labour migration in Bangladesh’s history in 2017, its remittance inflow has marked a 0.89 percent fall compared to previous year, says a report.
The report, prepared by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), estimated that the country earned $ 13.5 billion in remittance in the outgoing year against $ 13.61 billion last year.
Bangladesh has been witnessing the declining trend in remittance inflow despite a rise in labour migration for the second consecutive years. The country received $ 13.61 billion in remittance in 2016 while it was $ 15.11 billion in 2015.
The report said low oil price and tightening of fiscal policies in the Gulf and other Arab countries, Brexit, fraudulence in current migration system, fall in prices, growing number of returnees of migrants, and major changes in the Islami Bank’s board of directors contributed to the fall in the remittance inflow.
RMMRU founding chair Dr Tasneem Siddiqui presented the Annual Migration Trends Report-2016 (Patterns and Trends of Labour Migration 2017: Achievements and Challenges) at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club on Thursday.
“The year 2017 is very good year for labour migration as the highest number of people in Bangladesh’s history got chance to migrate to different countries for jobs. The rate of both the male and female labour migrants has marked a sharp rise in the outgoing year,” she said.
Tasneem, also a professor at Dhaka University’s Political Science department, said around 10 lakh Bangladeshi workers migrated to different countries, which is about 34.15 percent rise than the previous year. “Sending over 10 lakh migrant workers to different countries in a year is really a major success in the labour migration sector.”
About female labour migration, she said, some 1,13,009 women migrated to different countries in 2017, which is about 12.1 per cent of the total migration and 4.6 percent higher than last year’s. “This is a very positive development.”
Quoting the information of the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), the RMMRU chairperson said around 1.14 crore Bangladeshis went abroad with jobs since 1976. But, she said, there is hardly any data in the country on the extent of returnee migrant workers.
Citing the findings of a study conducted in Tangail by RAMMRU, she said around 44 percent migrant workers returned home for various reasons, including lack of jobs.
Of the total number of migrant workers in the outgoing year, about 83.06 percent went to the Middle East and Arab countries, the DU teacher said. “Around 5.14 lakh workers went to Saudi Arabia this year which is 55.15 percent of the total migration. Malaysia and Oman are the second and third countries in receiving higher number of Bangladeshi workers in 2017.”
Mentioning that the government and commercial banks play a significant role in collecting remittance, she said Islami Bank has long been playing the lead role in this regard. “Around 19.31 percent remittance came through Islami Bank this year which was over 30 percent in the previous years. The change in the board of directors of the bank has badly affected the remittance collection by it.”
Of the total amount of remittance, she said 17.15 percent came from Saudi while 15.97 percent from the UAE, 13.77 percent from the USA, 7.53 percent from Malaysia and 7.38 percent from the UK.
The fraudulent practices in the process of migration are adversely affecting the migrant worker’s income, Tasneem observed.
Referring to the findings of their study conducted in Tangail, the RAMMRU chairperson said 51 percent of the aspirants, current and returnee migrants experienced some form of fraudulence. “Among this group, 19 percent could not go abroad after paying some or full amount mostly to relatives, friends and middlemen.”
Though people are being subjected to deception by giving money for migration, she said most of them are unwilling to go to court for long legal procedure. “Most of them prefer mediation for recovering their money.”
Observing that middlemen in many cases play a good role in sending workers abroad, Tasneem said the government should bring them under a legal framework to ensure safer migration.
About Rohingya crisis, she said the government should make intensify its diplomatic efforts further changing the current strategy to repatriate the people of Rakhine state as the Myanmar has continued a false campaign that Rohingyas are Bangladeshis.