Manpower Export Is One the Second-Largest Contributor of Bangladesh GDP​​​​​​​

Manpower export is one of the most important sectors of Bangladesh. After the garment sector, it is the second-largest contributor to the country's GDP. The main objective of exporting manpower is to ensure employment of a large number of people of the country and to earn foreign exchange by tackling the crisis created due to the lack of coordination of demand and supply of labor in the country's market. Mainly, the booming economy of the Middle East, in 1973, by the sudden rising of fuel oil price opened the door for the export of manpower from the then least developed countries, including Bangladesh. The first manpower export in 1976 marked the beginning of a new chapter in the economic growth of our country. Remittance continues to rise, which began to play a vital role in the country's socio-economic development. According to BMET, the total amount of foreign exchange sent to Bangladeshi migrants from 1976 to 2020 was 232 billion dollars. Bangladesh currently ranks eighth in receiving remittances. Despite the global labor market shrinking due to the COVID pandemic, Bangladesh's growing remittance continued, which has a great contribution to reducing our economic losses. Therefore, the flow of remittances must continue to strengthen the foundation of the sustainable economic development of the country. This requires skilled manpower building, exploration of the new labor market, and reduction of dominance of middlemen in the manpower export sector. Otherwise, Bangladesh will lag behind in the international labor market.

The main destination for manpower export from Bangladesh is the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Organization (GCC). Namely, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar. Malaysia was later added to the list. There are also Bangladeshi immigrants in about one hundred and seventy countries of the world including Singapore, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, etc. According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET), more than one crore Bangladeshis have migrated to different parts of the world since independence, of which 75% are in the Middle East. And more than a million workers go abroad legally every year.

However, it is very sad but true that only one-third of the total number of skilled workers among them. The reason behind the increased rate of unskilled workers going abroad is the dominance of middlemen in the manpower export sector. The middle and lower-middle-class people of villages migrate abroad with the last straw of life in the hope of economic prosperity in the grip of the middlemen. But due to a lack of necessary skills, they fell into misery abroad. Most of them can't raise the invested money even after working a hard long time. Most of these workers are considered incompetent due to poor communication and language skills, behavioral problems, lack of physical fitness, vague ideas about modern equipment, ignorance of immigration law, hygiene, and sanitation. Which lowers the standard of Bangladesh's labor force in the international arena. Semi-skilled workers try to learn some work but do not get paid according to their labor. Which reduces personal loss and also reduces the quality of Bangladeshi workers by international standards. One of the examples of this is Malaysia suspending manpower import from Bangladesh more than once in the past. Although the government has taken appropriate initiatives to create skilled manpower, the sending of unskilled workers is continuing due to the tyranny of the middlemen up to the grassroots level. There are also instances of illegal migration and deception through middlemen.

In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the advancement of technology has created new job sectors and increased the competition in the international labor market also. In contrast to the worldwide automation and smart device-centric managerial improvements and production capabilities, our agricultural, industrial, marketing, and transportation systems are still very old. As a result, Bangladesh lags behind many other countries due to a lack of technical skills. According to a study by the World Economic Forum, in the case of Bangladesh, about 5.7 million unskilled employed workers at home and abroad may become unemployed due to failure to adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This opportunity of the industrial revolution must be used tohold the labor market. The emphasis should be on enhancing the technical skills of the employees. Although the Middle East is one of the most important for Bangladesh, the labor market in the Middle East has been shrinking in recent times due to various reasons. As a result, it is important to overcome the dependence on the Middle East and start searching new permanent labor market.

 There is always a demand for skilled people in every industrialized country in the world today. We have to make a plan to make the people skilled in special jobs as per the demand of the international labor market by utilizing the opportunities of our people in government initiatives. We have to work towards building internationally tested manpower through the necessary training. At the same time, the embassies have to be proactive in solving any problem of the migrants living abroad.

Remittances are one of the driving forces of Bangladesh's economy. Therefore, the government should pay conscious attention to the manpower export sector and increase investment in this sector. Eliminating the tyranny of middlemen or agencies and sending skilled manpower through the government in a legal way will increase the demand of Bangladeshi workers in the world market and enrich the growing remittance flow will enrich the country's economy.