Bangladeshi diaspora

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Bangladeshi diaspora
Flag of Bangladesh.svg
Total population
7,200,000[1] (2015)
Regions with significant populations
 Saudi Arabia 1,005,000 (2006)[2]
 UAE 700,000 (2009)[3]
 Malaysia 500,000 (2009)[4]
 UK 450,000 (2011)[5][6]
 USA 277,000 (2014)[7][8]
 Kuwait 150,000 (2005)[9]
 Qatar 137,000 (2013)[10]
 Italy 135,000 (2012)[11]
 Oman 130,000 (2007)[12]
 Singapore 100,000 (2011)[13]
 Bahrain 90,000 (2007)[14]
 Maldives 40,000 (2008)[15]
 Australia 27,800 (2011)[16]
 Canada 24,600 (2006)[17][18]
 Japan 15,000 (2008)[19]
 South Korea 13,600 (2013)[20]
 Greece 11,000[21]
 Spain 7,000[21]
 Germany 5,000[21]
Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity

The Bangladeshi diaspora consists of people of Bangladeshi descent who have immigrated to or were born in another country. First generation migrants may have moved abroad from Bangladesh for better living conditions, to escape poverty, to support their financial condition or to send money back to families in Bangladesh.

There is a large Bangladeshi diaspora population in Saudi Arabia, where there are almost 1.2 million.[22] There are also significant migrant communities in various Arab states of the Persian Gulf, particularly the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, where Bangladeshis are mainly classified as foreign workers. The United Kingdom's 2001 census found 300,000 (500,000 in 2009 census) British Bangladeshi mainly concentrated in east London boroughs (Tower Hamlets and Newham); the migration to Britain is mainly linked with chain migration from the Sylhet region (95% of the UK-Bangladeshi population are from the Sylhet region who regarded as Sylheti diaspora). Besides the UK and Middle East, Bangladeshis also have a significant presence in the United States, mainly in New York City (where many are also from Sylhet, Chittagong, and other regions) and Paterson in New Jersey, in East and Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, and in other Western countries such as Italy, Canada, and Australia.

Middle East[edit]

A Bangladeshi family in Saudi Arabia.

Bangladeshis in the Middle East form the largest part of the worldwide Bangladeshi diaspora. Approximately 2,820,000 live within the Middle East, with half of them in Saudi Arabia, and a quarter of them in the United Arab Emirates. Bangladeshis who come to the Middle East are primarily guest workers or day labourers.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Saudi Arabia has over two million Bangladeshis, making it the largest Bangladeshi diaspora community. Bangladesh is one of the largest labour suppliers to Saudi Arabia, in 2007 Bangladeshi workers obtained the biggest share, with 23.50 per cent of the 1.5 million Saudi Arabia visas issued.

United Arab Emirates[edit]

There are over a million Bangladeshis residing in the United Arab Emirates as of 2013.


Qatar has about 280,000 Bangladeshis as of the end of 2015.

South Asia[edit]


Main article: Bangladeshis in India


Nearly 5 million illegal immigrants, including around 2 million Bangladeshis, 2.5 million Afghanis and 0.5 million other nationals including Africans, Iranians, Iraqis and Myanmars, are currently living in Pakistani cities like Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Karachi.[23][24]


Bangladeshis in Maldives are mostly illegal immigrants,according to Maldivian foreign ministry some 50,000 Bangladeshi are now (2011) working in this country, a nation of only around 400,000 people, with one-third having no valid documents or registration.[25]

East and Southeast Asia[edit]


Bangladeshis in Malaysia form a large proportion of Malaysia's foreign labour force. When both legal and illegal residents are included, their population was estimated to total 500,000 persons, roughly one-sixth of all the foreign workers in Malaysia as of 2009.[26]

South Korea[edit]

In South Korea, there are more than 13,000 Bangladeshi foreign workers in the country. A few of them include illegal immigrants. This has led to some prejudice towards Bangladeshi immigrants, an issue recently tackled by the 2009 Korean film Bandhobi, directed by Sin Dong-il.[27][28]


Main article: Bangladeshis in Japan

Bangladeshis in Japan (在日バングラデシュ人 Zainichi Banguradeshujin?) form one of the smaller populations of foreigners in Japan. As of 2005, Japan's Ministry of Justice recorded 11,055 Bangladeshi nationals among the total population of registered foreigners in Japan.[19]

Western world[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Main article: British Bangladeshi
Further information: Sylheti diaspora and Sylhet

The British Bangladeshi community is one of the largest immigrant communities in the United Kingdom, and is well established in many parts of the UK, most notably London, mainly in the East London boroughs, of which the Tower Hamlets has the highest percentage of Bangladeshis with about 33% of the borough's total population. The national census of ethnicity and identity found over 400,000 (95% are Sylheti) people had Bangladeshi heritage in Britain. There is also a significant community in and around Westminster. Outside London, Westwood, Greater Manchester has the second largest concentration of Sylheti Bangladeshi diaspora in the United Kingdom.

People from current Bangladesh or the entire region of Bengal including current West Bengal, India, were first present in the United Kingdom when Sylhetis arrived as lascars on ships during the 18th century to 19th century, and throughout the years this has created connections with Sylhet. Large numbers arrived during the 1970s mainly from the Sylhet region, for the need to find work and earn a better living. The influence of Bangladeshi culture and diversity can be seen across London in boroughs such as Tower Hamlets, Newham, Camden and Southwark. The street of Brick Lane has a large history of Bangladeshis and has officially been dubbed as "Banglatown", and has hundreds of "Indian" restaurants nearly all owned by Sylheti Bangladeshis.

United States[edit]

Main article: Bangladeshi American

The census in 2000, found up to 95,300 were born in Bangladesh, therefore it is estimated there are at least 150,000 Bangladeshis in United States. It was until the 1990s when Bangladeshis started to move to the United States, and settled in urban areas such as New York, Paterson in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.. Although recent findings claim that Bangladeshis started arriving during the late 19th centuries from the southern part of current Bangladesh. In some parts of Queens and Manhattan in New York City, there are Bangladeshi restaurant owners of Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani restaurants. The Baishakhi Mela celebration of the Bengali New Year is also held by the Bangladeshi American communities in New York, Paterson, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other cities annually. The remittance flow of received currency in 2012 was 13.9 billion dollars. as of 2012.[29]


Main article: Bangladeshis in Italy

Bangladeshis are one of the largest immigrant populations in Italy. As of 2013, there were more than 113,811 Bangladeshis living in Italy. Most of the Bangladeshis in Italy are based in Lazio, Lombardy and Veneto with large concentrations in Rome, Milan and Venice.


Main article: Bangladeshi Canadian

Bangladeshi Canadian refers to a person of Bangladeshi background born in Canada or a Bangladeshi that has migrated to Canada. It is estimated that around 24,595 [17] Bangladeshi people live in Canada, primarily in provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, and Alberta. They live in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa. Bangladeshi Canadians can be found primarily in the provinces Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, and Alberta. The cities they live in include Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa.

Like most immigrants to Canada, Bangladeshi Canadians are distinct from other Bangladeshi diaspora groups because they are split between French-speaking and English-speaking Bangladeshi Canadians. This distinction is most obvious in eastern Canada.


Bangladeshis in Australia are one of the smallest immigrant communities living in Australia. There are around 20,000 Bangladeshis in Australia. The largest Bangladeshi communities are mainly present in the states of New South Wales and Victoria, with large concentrations in the cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "International migrant stock 2015: graphs: Twenty countries or areas of origin with the largest diaspora populations (millions)". United Nations Population Division. 
  2. ^ "Asians in the Middle East" (PDF). Department of Economic and Social Affairs. United Nations. 
  3. ^ "Labor Migration in the United Arab Emirates: Challenges and Responses". Migration Information Source. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Malaysia cuts Bangladeshi visas". BBC News. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "Resident Population Estimates by Ethnic Group, All Persons: All Persons; All Ages; Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi (Persons)". Office for National Statistics. 
  6. ^ [1] 2011 Census: Ethnic Group, local authorities in the United Kingdom, 11 October 2013, accessed 19 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Institutionalising Diaspora Linkage: The Emigrant Bangladeshis in UK and USA" (PDF). International Organization for Migration. February 2004. 
  8. ^ "The Bangladeshi Diaspora in the United States" (PDF). Migration Policy Institute. July 2014. 
  9. ^ "Bangladeshis storm Kuwait embassy". BBC News. 24 April 2005. 
  10. ^ "Population of Qatar by nationality". BQ Magazine. 7 December 2014. Archived from the original on 22 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "In pursuit of happiness". Korea Herald. 8 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Oman lifts bar on recruitment of Bangladeshi workers". 10 December 2007. .
  13. ^ "Bangladeshis in Singapore". High Commission of Bangladesh, Singapore. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Bangladesh–Bahrain Bilateral Relations". Embassy of Bangladesh, Kingdom of Bahrain. 31 March 2007. Archived from the original on 2 December 2011. 
  15. ^ "Maldives to recruit Bangladeshi workers". Bangladesh News. 2 August 2008. 
  16. ^ Australian Government - Department of Immigration and Border Protection. "Bangladeshi Australians". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "2006 Census Topic-based tabulations: Ethnic Origin (247), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3) and Sex (3) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census - 20% Sample Data". Statistics Canada. 2006. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b 国籍別外国人登録者数の推移 (Change in number of registered foreigners by nationality), Japan: National Women's Education Centre, 2005, retrieved 8 April 2008 
  20. ^ "체류외국인 국적별 현황", 《2013년도 출입국통계연보》, South Korea: Ministry of Justice, 2013, p. 290, retrieved 5 June 2014 
  21. ^ a b c "Bangladesh: Migrants fare badly in Italy". IRIN. 29 October 2010. 
  22. ^ "Bangladesh to send 2 million workers to Saudi Arabia". 5 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "Five million illegal immigrants residing in Pakistan". The Express Tribune. Karachi. 16 January 2012. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Nahar, K (2011) Maldives to deport thousands of illegal Bangladeshi workers, The Financial Express Pictorial, 13 June 2011, retrieved 8 July 2013, Maldivian foreign minister Ahmed Naseem last week said some 50,000 Bangladeshi are now working in his country --- a nation of only around 400,000 people --- with one-third having no valid documents or registration. 
  26. ^ "Malaysia cuts Bangladeshi visas", BBC News, 11 March 2009, retrieved 30 August 2009 
  27. ^ Bandhobi at the Internet Movie Database
  28. ^ Admissions as of 12 July 2009. "Bandhobi (Movie - 2009)". HanCinema. Retrieved on 5 August 2009.
  29. ^ "World Banks 2012 data". 22 May 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2015.