- Number of migration this year 32% less than 2019
- Around 74% migrated workers in 2021 are unskilled
- Negative growth in skilled workers' migration in 2021
- Saudi Arabia top destination generating 76% overseas jobs this year
- This year, 68,579 women workers went abroad for work, almost double compared to 21,934 in 2020
The labour migration was 1.5 times more at the end of 2021 than last year, according to data till November this year.
However, the number of migration this year was 32% less than the pre-Covid era of 2019, said the Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit (RMMRU), analysing data till November this year, at a press conference at the National Press Club on Thursday.
At the event, the RMMRU released a report, titled "Labour Migration from Bangladesh 2021: Achievements and Challenges", citing the data from the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET).
Around 4.85 lakh Bangladeshi have been employed in various countries this year till November.
More than seven lakh newly recruited Bangladeshis went abroad in 2019, but only 2.17 lakh workers migrated last year due to covid-19 restrictions.
"Though the number of labour migration this year is less than the pre-Covid period, still it is not bad if we consider the ongoing pandemic. It will take some more time to return to the pre-Covid level," said Tasneem Siddiqui, founder chair of RMMRU.
She said, "In 2021, the percentage of migration of semi-skilled workers showed a downward trend (3.06%), which was 14% in 2019. The percentage of less-skilled (widely known as unskilled) workers has multiplied, rising to 74% in 2021 from 41% in 2019."
"In 2021, 23.3% migrated as skilled workers, up from 44% in 2019. In 2020, only 1% of workers belonged to the professional category while in 2021, the number dropped to .06%," she added.
"The Covid-19 has created immigration opportunities for skilled workers in certain sectors. The declining migration of skilled workers indicates that Bangladesh has not been able to take advantage of those opportunities," said Tasneem Siddiqui.
A large portion of work permits for low-skilled workers has been collected by individuals working in different destination countries for their relatives. Most of them are free visas, she added.
"Those who accept such visas get little legal protection. This indicates that recruiting agencies did not play a significant role in obtaining workers' visas in 2021," she added.
The RMMRU report says, "Due to the lockdown, migration from Bangladesh came to a standstill from April to June of 2020. In that year, the overall flow of immigration was 69% lower than the previous year.
Saudi Arabia is the top destination for Bangladeshi migrants, generating 76% of all overseas jobs between January and November this year. The other top destinations are Oman, Singapore, UAE, Jordan and Qatar.
Meanwhile, until 22 November this year, the number of workers returning from abroad with an outpass is 74,846. Of them, 80,199 are males and 4,447 are females. The RMMRU report says that they did not find total number of returnees' data from BMET this year except outpass holders.
According to BMET data, a total of 4.06 lakh migrants returned to the country in 2020 after the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic. In that year, the rate of return of immigrants was eight times higher than the previous years, according to the RMMRU.
The RMMRU says that out of the 64 districts of Bangladesh, 50% migration is from 10 districts which are Cumilla, Brahmanbaria, Chandpur, Tangail, Narsingdi, Kishoreganj, Noakhali, Dhaka, Chattogram and Lakhsmipur.
From January to November this year, a total of 68,579 women workers went abroad for work. If this trend continues, the number of women immigrants will almost double in 2021, compared to 21,934 in 2020.
Around 1.35 crore Bangladeshi have been employed abroad from 1976 to 2021.