Overseas employment has been playing a pivotal role in the socio-economic facet of Bangladesh for long which has proved its resilient presence in 2022. It is an alternative source of development as well. Bangladesh earns significant amount of remittance from overseas employment to cover the balance of payment.

In all aspects, both the issues are very important in the perspective plan of the country. Keeping in mind this issue, the dissection of the maneuver shows what actually happened in the year 2022. According to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) database, 11,10,034 people went abroad for work in 2022 against 6,17,209 people in 2021. This shows 79.84pc growth in overseas employment in the outgoing year over the last year. Moreover, this is the ever-highest number in the history of migration from Bangladesh since 1976. It has crossed the record figure of 10,08,525 as it was in 2017.

Country-wise employment 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) secured the highest volume of employment which is 6,12,409 and is almost 55.17pc of total employment. The second highest employment took place in Oman which is 1,79,611 followed by 98,452 in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 64,383 in Singapore. The next highest number is 50,090 employed in Malaysia followed by 24,447 in Qatar and 20,421 in Kuwait. Moreover, 12,230 migrants went to Jordan, 7,592 to Italy, 5,910 to South Korea and 5,484 to Mauritius. It is clearly found that most of the employment took place in the Middle-Eastern countries which is 85.4pc and the dependence of overseas employment on a few countries remained concentrated also. The government should focus on the exploration of the newer and alternative destinations to reduce the dependence.

Analysing the previous year's experiences, it was found that 4,57,227 people were employed in KSA out of 6,17,209, i.e. 74pc employment occurred in KSA. This year it has come down to 55pc which is a significant decline in dependency on a single country. Also 16.17pc employment took place in Oman, in place of 9pc in the previous year 2021 showing some increment. But in both the years, Oman secured the second highest position as destination country for Bangladeshi migrants.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the third highest destination country in this year with almost 9pc of employment which was 4.7pc in the previous year (2021) securing third position as well. The fourth highest position as the destination country is Singapore in this year with 5.80pc with a little enhancement of employment; interestingly Singapore was also ranked fourth in previous year (4.51pc). The fifth highest destination country is Malaysia in this year and the employment accounted for 4.5pc. It may be noted that Malaysia started recruiting Bangladeshi migrants from this year after opening this process after stalemate for few years. Jordan was ranked sixth highest destination country last year.

Some significant numbers of recruitment took place in this year. As for example, 20,421 people had been employed in Kuwait in 2022 while only 1,848 people were recruited in 2021. Some 24,447 persons employed in Qatar this year while 11,158 people were recruited in 2021. As many as 7,592 people were employed in Italy in 2022 in place of 653 people in 2021. Some 5,910 were employed in South Korea this year against 108 in 2021. 2,984 were employed in Brunei Darus Salam this year while only 12 people recruited in 2021.   

Most discussed topic in overseas employment

Although the highest overseas employment happened this year, the most discussed issue was the starting process of recruitment of workers in Malaysia. Lots of meetings, discussions happened between Bangladesh and Malaysia. Finally, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the two countries, but it was seen that only 25 recruiting agencies from Bangladesh was allowed to recruit Bangladeshi workers for Malaysian labour market. Later, more 100 recruiting agencies have been enlisted to act as sub-agent and are allowed to recruit people. More than Tk 400,000 is being charged for recruitment in Malaysia which is much higher than Tk 78,990/- as set by the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry. This amount is equivalent to the wages of almost 2 years, which is very difficult to recover. Malaysia is one of the potential employment markets, but lack of transparency, confidence, and trustworthiness among the parties involved at home and abroad are actually jeopardizing the prospective employment market.

Female migration

Female recruitment is one of the important issues in the overseas employment sector. 99,644 women workers were employed this year which is 9.68pc of total employment. In 2021, 80,143 women workers were employed equivalent to almost 13pc of total employment. In this regard, the percentage of female recruitment was a bit less in comparison to the previous year. 66,033 female workers had been employed in KSA this year which is 66.26pc of total female employment.

In 2021, 53,082 women workers were employed, which was 66.23pc of total female employment showing the same scenario in the consecutive years. Country wise analysis shows that 15,759 women workers were employed in Oman in 2022 being the second highest destination country this year while 10,035 female workers were employed in the previous year securing also as the second highest destination country.

More or less same number of recruitment took place in different countries in comparison with previous year. 863 workers went to Mauritius this year which was only 8 in 2021. The female migration still concentrates on different occupations in a single sector i.e. domestic works in the Middle Eastern countries. This has so many complaints which need immediate attention. The diversification of occupation and diversification of destination should be explored to create a sustainable employment echo system.   


Remittance is one of the important outcomes of the overseas employment. Round the year, remittance issues have been discussed among the policy makers, administrator and academicians. Due to Russia-Ukraine war, world economy is now in vulnerable stage and obviously Bangladesh cannot avoid the reality. Although, Bangladesh was not affected in previous global downturn of economy in 2009 due to its continuous flow of remittances. The amount of remittance has also increased in recent years. It was USD 15.54 in 2018, USD 18.35 billion in 2019, 21.75 billion USD in 2020 and 22.07 billion USD in 2021. Upto November 2022 the remittance figure stood at USD 19.59 billion, the trend shows USD 21.4 earning in 2022 declining from the previous year.

According to the data of Bangladesh Bank, KSA stands as highest position remittance sending country in FY 2021-2022 same as previous years 2019-20 and 2020-21. But the amount of remittance has decreased from USD 5,721 to USD 4,542 in 2021-22 i.e. decline 20.6pc. The second position is secured by USA with an amount of USD 3,438 in 2021-22 with a very slight decrease from the previous financial year. UAE holds third position and the amount was USD 2,072 with a declining trend from the previous year of 2,440 and UK shows an increase of remittance flow holding the fourth position. The amount of remittance was USD 2.039 in 2021-22 which was USD 2,023 in 2020-2021.    

 *Kazi Abul Kalam, former Joint secretary, the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry and Md Nurul Islam, former director, Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET).