Economic and Social Wellbeing of the Bangladeshi Migrant Workers in Malaysia

Economic and Social Wellbeing of the Bangladeshi Migrant Workers in Malaysia

Md Mohsin Reza (Jagannath University, Bangladesh & University of Malaya, Malaysia) and Thirunaukarasu Subramaniam (University of Malaya, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7897-0.ch006


This is a doctoral thesis proposal based on a mixed methods approach submitted to the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This proposal was written to fulfill the requirement of a doctoral candidate studying at the University of Malaya. This proposal comprises several main components of a reasonably good research proposal with the following headings: Background of the study, Statement of the problem, Research questions, Research objectives, Significance of study Literature review, Conceptual and theoretical framework, and Research methodology. This proposal also incorporates the plan of study displayed in the form of Gantt chart. This study explores the economic and social well-being of the Bangladeshi migrant workers in Malaysia. This sample proposal would be useful to postgraduate students and researchers who are planning to conduct their research in this particular area.
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Background Of The Study

The international labour migration has emerged as a major global issue that affects most nations in the world. This issue ranks high on the international, regional and national policy agendas (ILO, 2010). There are many positive aspects to cross-border migration such as improvement in economic growth and development through labour migration for both the home and the host economy. The home economy greatly benefits from these workers’ remittances and the skills they acquire during their migration experience (ILO, 2010). There are an estimated 232 million international migrants around the world (ILO, 2015, ILO, 2016; Islam and Cojocaru, 2016) which constitutes 3.9 per cent of the total global population (ILO, 2015). According to a recent ILO (2015) estimate, there are 150.3 million migrant workers in the world. Among the migrant workers, 83.7 million are men and 66.6 million are women, corresponding to 55.7 percent and 44.3 percent of the total respectively. Almost half (48.5 percent) of the migrant workers are concentrated in two broad sub-regions, Northern America and Northern, Southern and Western Europe. These sub-regions altogether make up 52.9 percent of all female migrant workers and 45.1 percent of all male migrant workers. The corresponding proportions are 20.2 percent in Northern America and 16.4 percent in Northern, Southern and Western Europe, followed by Central and Western Asia (10.0 percent) and Eastern Europe (9.2 percent). The bulk of migrant workers in the world in 2013 were engaged in services, 106.8 million out of a total of 150.3 million, amounting to 71.1 percent. Industry, including manufacturing and construction, accounted for 26.7 million (17.8 percent) and agriculture for 16.7 million (11.1 percent). The data shows a concentration of migrants in certain economic sectors, with notable gender differences.

The migrant workforce issues have been a research area that has drawn extensive interest among academic researchers in Malaysia since 1985, when the Government of Malaysia formulated the First Industrial Master Plan (1985-90) (Devadason and Meng, 2014). After 1990, the Malaysian Government started to encourage the employment of the foreign workers, especially from Asian countries to solve the problem of labour shortage (Noh et al., 2016). The foreign workers in Malaysia are increasing over time because of the excess demand for labourers associated with rapid economic growth, as well as the relatively cheaper cost (Noor et al., 2011). In 2014, the total number of foreign workers in Malaysia is 2,073,414 (Ministry of Home Affairs, Malaysia, 2014). The Malaysian Government approves applications for the foreign workers in a number of sectors namely manufacturing, plantation, agriculture, construction, and services (Noh et al., 2016). As a developing country, Bangladesh earns a significant amount of foreign remittances from Malaysia through this international labour migration. The country received US$ 1381.53 (in Million) in 2014-2015 (Bangladesh Bank, 2016). The remittances increased only by 2.66 percent in 2013, but in the subsequent year a rapid rise can be observed where it increased to 8.62 percent (Byron, 2014). Bangladesh received approximately $847.49 million as remittances from Bangladeshi migrant workers from Malaysia in 2012 (Rahman et al, 2014) which represents 13% of the country’s GDP ($10.7 billion).

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