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IOM: 91% Bangladesh migrants would stay home if they had better job opportunities

  • Published at 04:18 pm July 14th, 2020
Migrant worker
File photo of Bangladeshi migrant workers holding passports Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Migrants prefer Middle East to Europe or Americas

Around 91% of potential migrants would consider staying in Bangladesh if they had more work opportunities in the country, a survey says.

The survey, conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in coordination with the Government of Bangladesh, revealed the information on July 10, according to a media statement.

The survey presented the demographic and socioeconomic profiles of potential migrants, which revealed that job opportunities and livelihoods were the main driving force behind migration for most potential migrants.

Among the participants in the survey, 90% of them had no personal income or earned insufficient income. Additionally, 40% of the potential migrants were unemployed before electing to migrate.

Another important reason for migration was identified as potential migrants wanting to enhance their social status, the report says.

The report found that the majority of potential migrants were young, working age men who had attained at least some level of formal education.

The role of migrant networks was prominent during the preparatory arrangements of the respondents’ migration.

Over 65% of potential migrants reported to have friends or extended families living in their potential countries of destination. Many such families would support them with documents, finding employment, financial support, transport and accommodation.

Migrants prefer Middle East to Europe or Americas

The survey also revealed that potential migrants’ chose the Middle East as the most popular destination, with Saudi Arabia being the most popular country.

Only 1.4% of respondents expressed interest in migrating to Europe and the Americas, which debunked the widely held perception that migrants in the Global South preferred to go to the Global North.

Regular migrants more likely to be unemployed

The survey revealed that 42% of regular potential migrants were likely to be unemployed. In contrast, 37% of irregular potential migrants were likely to be unemployed.

An irregular migration is movement of persons that takes place outside the laws, regulations or international agreements governing the entry into or exit from the State of origin, transit or destination, while a regular migrant follows the protocol, according to IOM.

Although there is a general perception in Bangladesh that irregular migrants are younger, less well educated and less likely to be employed, the survey busts the myth. 

The report also found that regular and irregular potential migrants were of the same age and had similar levels of education.

Use of migration facilitators and their services

Another general perception that was debunked through this survey was that only irregular migrants made use of migration facilitators and their services.

The study revealed that both regular and irregular used the services of migration facilitators. According to the survey, 71% of migrants, who have registered their intention to travel with the government, also use migration facilitators to arrange their travel.

These potential migrants paid similar amounts to migration facilitators as the irregular migrants did.

While regular potential migrants who only paid the government had low migration costs, the additional costs that some potential migrants paid to migration facilitators made the total costs paid by regular and irregular potential migrants comparable overall.

The largest amount paid to a migration facilitator was Tk 1.6 million ($18,857), according to the survey. The average amount irregular potential migrants reported paying was Tk 229,488 ($2,705), and 10% of irregular migrants paid less than Tk 50,000 ($589).

Potential migrants to Europe and the Americas and the Middle East paid more to migrate than those going to other destinations.

Over 11,000 potential migrants from the 64 districts of the country who were arranging to migrate internationally participated in the survey.

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