As many as 99 percent of potential migrants will opt to stay at home if there are better job opportunities in Bangladesh, says a report of International Organisation for Migration.
According to the report, the top drivers of migration from Bangladesh include absence of job opportunities (particularly in the formal sector), insufficient income, financial problems, and a lack of social services and limited social protection systems.
IOM Bangladesh yesterday launched the report titled "Bangladesh: Survey on Drivers of Migration and Migrants' Profile" at an online event.
A total of 11,415 potential migrants, who intended to leave by June this year, from 64 districts were interviewed during the survey conducted in November-December last year.
The report mentioned that 38 percent respondents would stay at home if there were improvements to the rule of law, a better security situation (36 percent), and more accessible health services (29 percent).
Almost half the respondents indicated they would not leave if they were supported to further their studies.
Seventy-three percent of the respondents were willing to migrate abroad because of lack of jobs and livelihood opportunities in the country.
The 11,415 potential migrants were categorised as "regular" or "irregular", based on whether they had registered with the government.
The report presented pre-Covid-19 dynamics and suggested that comprehensive analysis of the drivers found in the survey together with profiles of potential migrants can provide a baseline to understand migration in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of the respondents were male (89 percent) and their average age was 27, with 64 percent aged in their 20's.
Approximately half the respondents were married. Most respondents were of working age and had attained some level of education.
In terms of the highest education level attained by respondents, 41 percent finished middle school, 27 percent secondary education, 26 percent completed primary education, and 3 percent didn't enroll for any school.
Forty percent of the potential migrants were unemployed before deciding to migrate, and 90 percent reported no personal income or insufficient income.
The survey found that profiles of regular and irregular potential migrants are similar such as "they are of the same age and have similar levels of education".
It said most Bangladeshi migrants intend to go to the Middle East or elsewhere in Asia, with Saudi Arabia being the most popular destination.
Only 1.4 percent of the respondents expressed interest in migrating to Europe and the Americas.
The report showed 85 percent potential migrants paid migration facilitators, including middlemen to support their migration.
The average amount a regular migrant paid was Tk 243,651 ($2,871), and irregular migrant Tk 229,488 ($ 2,705).
The largest amount paid was Tk 1.6 million ($18,857).
Launching the report as chief guest, Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, secretary of the expatriates' welfare ministry, said labour migration is immensely important for the economic and social development of Bangladesh.
He said the new report provides a detailed understanding of the factors that shape international labour migration from Bangladesh and that it will help the government formulate better policies and practices.
This was the first time the IOM has completed a nationwide survey on potential migrants in Bangladesh, said Giorgi Gigauri, chief of the UN agency in the country.
"We anticipate that the findings from the report will initiate discussions on how to address the socioeconomic drivers of migration from Bangladesh and support high-level dialogue on the importance of investing in education and skills," he added.