Despite record surge in remittance earnings, the overseas employment has consistently decreased in the recent years, according to the government statistics.
In the history of Bangladesh’s foreign employment, the highest number of 1,008,525 migrant workers went abroad for jobs in 2017, Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) data shows.
But, the country failed to sustain the bumpy employment growth in the following years.
The number of employment in 2019 slowed down at least 30 per cent than that of 2017. The trend was followed in the year of 2018 as well.
According to BMET statistics, some 700,159 workers obtained jobs in 2019 while 734,181 in 2018.
A survey commissioned by Bangladesh Bank last year stated that 11.5 million Bangladesh nationals are currently staying for work in different countries. Most of them are in the Middle Eastern countries.
The door for remittance inflows of newly born Bangladesh opened in 1976 with sending only 6,087 Bangladeshi workers to several Middle Eastern countries.
The journey started with USD 23.71 million of remittance in the year. Since then, the migrant workers have gifted a lot for the nation. The amount of remittances has been manifold in more than four decades.
In every next year since the fiscal year 2016-2017, the graph of remittance saw sheer rise.
In 12 months of the 2019, according to the BMET, the expatriate workers sent $ 18.35494 billion taking the forex reserve of the country to $30 billion (TK 2.565 trillion). The remittance was 15.54 billion in 2018 while 13.52684 billion in 2017.
“Remittance has increased this year because the government has introduced two per cent incentive for those who remit through formal channels,” said expatriate’s welfare and overseas employment ministry secretary Salim Reza over phone from Oman.
He also said, “The increasing number of skilled workers contributes to the record rise in the remittances.”
Cumilla district tops in overseas employment
Cumilla has supplied the highest number of migrant workers.
As per the BMET infographs, a total of 66,335 people went to foreign countries in 2019 alone, which is followed by Brahmanbaria (41,455) as the second, Chattogram (34,887) as the third, Tangail (34,076) as the fourth while Dhaka with 28,051 stood fifth on the list.
Bandarban and Panchagarh districts placed at the bottom with a number of 423 and 486 employments in 2019.
Between 2005 and 2019, as many as 939,773 people from Cumilla left homes for overseas jobs while 715,548 from Chattogram. Brahmanbaria ranked third sending 479,581 people in the nearly one and half decades.
Dhaka district was the fifth with 397,258 employments during the time.
Female employment slows, death and deportation rise
According to the BMET data, since inception of sending female migrant workers in 1991, as many as 902,481 employments were made in the year of 2019.
Though the highest number of 121,925 women workers attended foreign jobs in 2017, the number of migrant workers slowed down by 16.59 per cent in 2018 and the trend continued in 2019 as well. As many as 101,695 female workers went abroad in 2018 while 104,786 in 2019.
The end of year 2019 was marked by the downward trend as the number of the female overseas employment consistently decreased in November and December.
With the years, work place safety and security hit the bottom. Also, the number of workplace death has increased significantly.
Quoting Bangladesh high commission in Saudi Arabia, 152 female workers were killed in last four years. Of them, 53 were killed in 2019.
Though the actual number is far higher, according to the BMET, as many as 65,372 Bangladeshi workers, both male and female, were deported in 2019. The number is much higher than any year in the past except 2018.
The number of deportees was 68,382 in 2018 while 50,148 in 2017, 41,626 in 2016, 56,674 in 2015, and 47,261 in 2014.
Saudi Arabia is one of the largest hosts of Bangladeshi workers. The deportation from Saudi has also increased alarmingly. In 2019, the number of employment and the number of the deportation in and from Saudi Arabia increased.
According to the BMET, 399,000 employments were made in Saudi Arabia alone in 2019, which is 56.99 per cent of the total overseas jobs. But, Saudi deported more than 16,000 migrants in the year.
The highest number of 78,186 employments was made in October of 2019 which dropped in November with 62,339 and 60,961 in December.
Not only in the KSA, the number of jobs for the migrant workers also decreased in every receiving country in the last two months of this year.
Overall migrant casualties hike
According to the statistics of Wage Earners’ Welfare Board (WEWB), every day on average around 11 dead bodies of Bangladeshi migrant workers arrive back home from various countries around the world.
WEWB also said in the first eight months of 2019, some 2,611 bodies of migrants were sent back to Bangladesh.
It was seen that 62 per cent of the deaths were due to strokes or brain haemorrhage. And 18 per cent died of accidents. Five per cent were natural deaths.
Records show that from 2005 till August 2019, a total of 39,749 dead bodies of migrant workers were brought back to the country.