Bangladesh sent the highest number of 399,000 workers to Saudi Arabia in 2019 amid continued deportation of migrants.
That figure accounts for 57 per cent of a total of 700,159 workers, including 104,786 women, who went abroad last year, according to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) data.
On the other hand, the oil-rich country sent back 24,281 workers, including 1,200 women, in 2019, immigration data show.
Migration experts suggested that the authorities concerned should ensure sustainable labour migration by sending skilled workers.
They also underscored the need to explore new job markets to reduce dependency on traditional markets.
The BMET data also show that the outflow of workers has declined 4.50 per cent, compared to the previous year which saw 734,181 workers go abroad.
Sector insiders said the number of recruitment fell because of lower demand for semi-skilled workers in the job markets. Bangladesh mostly sends semi-skilled workers to the Middle East.
Besides, Malaysia, a vital job market, has remained closed to Bangladeshi workers since 2018. It has also a negative impact on the overall job sector, they added.
The second highest number of workers -- 10.38 per cent of total migrants-went to Oman while Qatar recruited 7.18 per cent and Singapore 7.12 per cent.
The outflow of women workers, however, has registered a 3.0 per cent increase in 2019, compared to 2018. Saudi Arabia hired over 72 per cent of Bangladeshi women workers.
Bangladesh sent 101,695 women workers to different countries in 2018, the BMET data show.
Syed Saiful Haque, chairman of WARBE Development Foundation, said the country should reduce dependency on traditional markets, if it wants to keep the manpower sector sustainable.
Without market diversification and skills development, it would be tough to ensure quality labour migration, he added.
A strong diplomatic initiative is also crucial to protect workers' rights, he observed.
Bangladesh sent a record number of 1,008,525 workers abroad in 2017.
Over 12 million Bangladeshi workers went abroad since 1976. Of them, 80 per cent went to Middle Eastern countries.
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