Bangladesh ranks sixth with 7.4m people living abroad
India tops list of countries of origin for migrant workers
Bangladesh received $21.75bn in remittance
International remittance declined by $17bn
An unprecedented 40.5 million displaced
Bangladesh, with around 7.4 million of its people living abroad, ranked sixth in the list of top 20 countries of origin for international migrants, and was the eighth largest remittance receiving country in the last year, according to the World Migration Report 2022.
India again topped the list of countries of origin for international migrants with some 18 million people living abroad. The South Asian country was followed by Mexico, Russian, China, and Syria.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday launched its flagship migration report which reveals a dramatic increase in internal displacement due to disaster, conflict, and violence at a time when global mobility ground to a halt due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The report said international remittance sent by migrants declined to $702 billion in 2020 from 2019's $719 billion, mainly because of the pandemic.
Bangladesh secured eighth in the list of countries with the most remittance inflow with some $21.75 billion. Earlier in 2018, Bangladesh did not make it to the top 10, according to the World Migration Report 2020.
The top remittance beneficiaries last year were India ($83.15 billion), China ($59.51bn), Mexico ($42.7bn), the Philippines ($34.91bn), Egypt ($29.60b), Pakistan ($26.11bn) and France ($24.48bn).
"Bangladesh's position as the migrant origin country and remittance receiver is good. Though our remittance flow is currently declining, we have to be careful to keep the flow stable," said Tasneem Siddiqui, founder chair of Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit (RMMRU).
"We are still providing unskilled migrants. We have to gradually transform into a skilled migrant supplier, which will increase remittance and decrease exploitation," she added.
Despite living beyond the country's borders, the Bangladeshi diaspora has continued to play a key role in the country's development, said the IOM report.
The World Bank (WB) estimates that the Bangladeshi population abroad sent home over $18 billion in 2019, with 73% coming from those working in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
These remittances account for over 6% of GDP, representing the country's second-largest source of foreign income.
The efforts by policymakers to encourage and facilitate the sending of remittances have greatly aided the remittance landscape in Bangladesh.
The Central Bank of Bangladesh more than tripled the ceiling on its 2019 cash incentive scheme -- whereby remittance beneficiaries receive a 2% bonus on transfers made using formal systems, up to $5,000.
Additionally, some commercial banks are providing an additional 1% incentive to further increase the attractiveness of sending remittances.
"In 2020, despite the impact of Covid-19 which slowed remittance flows globally, Bangladesh benefitted with $21.75 billion injected into the economy through remittances. Overall, international migration has been a critical part of the development story of Bangladesh, with migrants moving to pursue opportunities for economic and social reasons, and then helping raise the living standards at home," said Fathima Nusrath Ghazzali, IOM Bangladesh's officer-in-charge.
Remittance inflow, however, continued to drop for a six consecutive month in November this year, registering an 18-month low despite an upward trend in the country's trade and commerce outlook following an improved pandemic situation.
The top 5 destinations for migrants are The United States of America, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Kingdom.
An unseen paradox
There were around 281 million international migrants in the world in 2020, the IOM report added.
"We are witnessing a paradox not seen before in human history," said IOM's Director General Antonio Vitorino.
"While billions of people have been effectively grounded by Covid-19, tens of millions of displacement events have forced many others from their homes," he added.
The number of air passengers globally dropped 60% in 2020 to 1.8 billion (down from 4.5 billion in 2019), while at the same time internal displacement due to disaster, conflict, and violence rose to 40.5 million (up from 31.5 million in 2019).
"This report is unlike any other edition of the World Migration Report," said Dr Marie McAuliffe, the IOM report editor.
The report said that the number of international migrants has grown from 84 million globally in 1970 to 281 million in 2020, although when global population growth is factored in, the proportion of international migrants has only inched up from 2.3% to 3.6% of the world's population.
The vast majority of people globally (96.4%) reside in the country in which they were born.
Due to the pandemic, the number of international migrants in 2020 was lower, by around two million, than it otherwise would have been.