Global economic recession came as a big blow to Bangladesh's overseas employment as the country experienced a sharp fall of 45 percent in manpower export in January this year due to declining demand in some Middle East countries, officials said on Sunday.
According to statistics of the Bangladesh's Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), some 50,632 Bangladeshis found foreign jobs in January against 91,999 in January last year.
"Overseas jobs for Bangladeshis squeezed as many developed countries particularly Persian Gulf states downsized their development activities amid the financial slowdown," a senior official of the BMET said.
Joint Secretary General of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury told Xinhua on Sunday, "We're expecting a grim situation in the upcoming months as employers are not placing requisition for recruitment of fresh workforce like before."
"The situation is like a tsunami to us," he said.
"We're closely observing the situation to understand the exact reason behind the sliding trend in overseas employment to set right directions," Secretary of the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Abdul Matin Chowdhury said.
At present, some 5.67 million Bangladeshis are living and working abroad. In 2008, a record of 875,000 Bangladeshis found overseas jobs in more than 100 countries across the world against 832,000 in 2007.
Bangladesh also received a record amount of nearly 9 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, mostly contributed by its overseas workers.
Of total overseas employment in 2008, more than two thirds got jobs in the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Malaysia and Singapore.
Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury said the country which very much depends on inflow of remittance to keep its foreign exchange reserve in healthy position and make balance between export and import imbalance might face problem if the fall in overseas employment prolongs.