26th March marks the Golden Jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh. The celebration of the fifty years voyage is more important than ever since Bangladesh is adding new feathers to its success crown surpassing other neighboring nations. After the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation in 1971, the economic turmoil presented the country as a ‘bottomless basket’ in front of the world nations. But Bangladesh did not take long to rise from the relics. Today Bangladesh is an emerging powerhouse of the global economy. Its sharp economic rise continued even with the strike of the pandemic. What’s Bangladesh’s secret then? Let’s explore.

Bangladesh’s large population is not necessarily a curse when a significant portion turns themselves to migrants working outside their country. With over 13 million Bangladeshi citizens working globally, Bangladesh is the sixth-largest migrant-sending country in the world. [1] Every year these migrants add a remittance of 15 billion USD to the country’s economy.[2] In June 2020, when the world nations were experiencing an economic downturn due to the pandemic, Bangladesh’s remittance reception increased by 34%.[3] Furthermore, Bangladesh’s record foreign reserve of 36.14 billion USD in the 2019-20 financial year was largely contributed by this inbound remittance flow.[4] With the support of this stable foreign reserve, Bangladesh is turning its dream of mega infrastructure projects like Padma Bridge into reality.

The plight of migrant workers to different destinations around the globe also played a role to reduce the unemployment problem in Bangladesh. The number of youth joining the labor force every year is too high in Bangladesh to handle domestically, approximately 2.2 million. [5] Migrating to foreign lands to work has appeared a viable way to reduce the pressure at home while significantly improving the economic status of the country.

With the new reality of the pandemic, the stock of migrant workers is declining in many of the destination countries. A fall in the remittance flow can have a detrimental impact on the economy as well as the human development of Bangladesh. Bangladesh needs to be stepping forward to be facilitated by its migrant workers before it’s too late. There is no alternative to producing skilled labor. IOM  (International Organization for Migration) data shows, skilled migrant workers on average send 255 USD more per month compared to the lower-skilled migrant workers. So to ensure the most return on migration, a skilled labor force is a must. Lights should also be shed on the labor recruitment practices of Bangladesh. Bilateral agreements on labor migration need to be in place so that well-paid employment is ensured for Bangladeshi workers rather than being compelled to work in lower-paid jobs coupled with an abusive environment. The function of Bangladeshi embassies in destination countries needs to be more effective in terms of migrant laborers’ rights. Management of debts and formalizing savings at home need to be strengthened so that the migrants and their families become financially independent. And last but not least, regular and comprehensive research on overseas employment and the labor market needs to be run to adopt appropriate and contemporary policies.

In 2016, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina proposed ‘Global Compact for Migration’ a governance framework for well-regulated migration at the General Assembly of the UN.  Now it is time to implement the framework in the south Asian nation itself and set yet another example of a thriving economy among the world nations.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like