As per the latest estimates, there are 13 million Bangladeshi residing outside Bangladesh. Saudia Arabia (2.5 million) ranks No.1 in the Overseas population followed by Malaysia (1 million), UAE (0.8 million), Oman (0.7 million) followed by the UK in 5th position (0.6 million)
Although Bangladesh only came into existence in 1971, the land which is today Bangladesh has strong ties to the Middle East. Out of the 13 Million Bangladeshis abroad approximately 8 million live within the Middle East, with 2.5 million in Saudi Arabia and a 1 million of them in the United Arab Emirates.
Remittances to Bangladesh are money transfers (remittances) sent by the Bangladeshi diaspora to Bangladesh. According to the World Bank, Bangladesh is the 7th highest recipient of remittance in the world with almost $22.1 billion in 2021 and was the third highest recipient of remittance in South Asia.
Nearly 2.4 million Bangladeshis are estimated to be living abroad permanently, either as citizens or on long-term permits, but there has been very little effort by the government to tap this huge source of investment.
In 2018, a report by the Economic Relations Divisions (ERD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) proposed a set of measures to attract investment from the NRBs, but there has been very little progress in this regard so far.
According to the report, India, China, the Philippines, Lebanon, Sri Lanka and some other countries have focused on engaging the diaspora communities in economic development and brought about widespread and meaningful economic reforms to attract diaspora investment, but Bangladesh lags far behind in this regard.
The report titled “Engagement of Non-Resident Bangladeshis in National Development” identified delay in import and customs procedure, lack of utility connection, lack of skilled human capital, demand for speed money, complications in land acquisition, weak enforcement of intellectual property rights, complexities in transferring fund as the major reasons behind the low level of direct diaspora investment in Bangladesh.