Overseas Employment of Bangladeshi Workers: Trends, Prospects, and Challenges

Publication | August 2016
Overseas Employment of Bangladeshi Workers: Trends, Prospects, and Challenges

With the growing importance of overseas employment for the economy, Bangladesh must examine the trends and their impact, and the related policy questions affecting overseas employment and workers’ remittances.

This brief (i) reviews trends, determinants, and the impact of overseas employment; (ii) examines the prospects of overseas employment of workers; (iii) looks at issues relating to the skill composition of migrant workers and possibly matching skills to those needed in destination countries; (iv) explores the rights and welfare of migrant workers; and (v) recommends ways to address key concerns.

Key Messages

  • Overseas employment of Bangladeshi workers is a major source of employment and is likely to remain so in the near future.
  • Migration flow is positively correlated with gross domestic product growth in Bangladesh and the long-term trend has continued to be positive for more than 2 decades as economic growth has accelerated.
  • Migrant workers’ remittances to Bangladesh are a significant source of foreign exchange, second only to ready-made garments.
  • High costs of migration brought on by high recruitment fees and charges by intermediaries make access to migration opportunities highly skewed in favor of the upper-income groups.
  • Bilateral agreements between the sending and receiving countries, the recognition of skills of migrant workers, and the governance of the recruitment process and deployment of overseas workers are critical factors to further support overseas employment in Bangladesh.

This brief is a co-publication of the Asian Development Bank and the International Labour Organization, Regional Office for Labour and the Pacific.