Bangladeshi diaspora

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Bangladeshi diaspora
Flag of Bangladesh.svg
Regions with significant populations
 Saudi Arabia1,005,000 (2006)[1]
 United Arab Emirates700,000 (2009)[2]
 United Kingdom400,000 (2017)[3][4]
 Malaysia1,000,000 (2018)[5]
 United States187,816 (2015)[6]
 Kuwait150,000 (2005)[7]
 Qatar137,000 (2013)[8]
 Italy135,000 (2012)[9]
 Oman130,000 (2007)[10]
 Singapore100,000 (2011)[11]
 Bahrain90,000 (2007)[12]
 Maldives40,000 (2008)[13]
 Australia27,800 (2011)[14]
 Canada24,600 (2006)[15][16]
 Japan15,000 (2008)[17]
 South Korea13,600 (2013)[18]
Predominantly: Islam
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Montage of Bengal.jpg

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. Annual remittances received in Bangladesh were 15.4 billion dollars as of 2015.[21]

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 Division (95% of the UK-Bangladeshi population are from the Sylhet Division who are also 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.

West Asia[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]


According to the Maldivian foreign ministry; some 50,000 Bangladeshi were working in there in 2011, a nation of only around 400,000 people, with a third having no valid documents or registration.[23]

East and Southeast Asia[edit]


Bangladeshis in Malaysia form a large proportion of Malaysia's foreign labour force. Their population was estimated to total 221,000 persons, roughly one-eighth of all the foreign workers in Malaysia as of 2017.[24]

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. The 2009 Korean film Bandhobi, directed by Sin Dong-il, depicts a Bangladeshi migrant in South Korea.[25][26]


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.[17]

Western world[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

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. Other boroughs include Newham, where 12% of the boroughs population is Bangladeshi, Redbrige, with 7%, Barking and Dagenham, with 5%, and in North London is Camden, where 7% of the borough is Bangladeshi. The national census of ethnicity and identity found over 400,000 (95% are Sylhetis) people had Bangladeshi heritage in Britain. There is also a significant community in and around Westminster. Sylhetis residing in London are often referred to as Londonis. The Sylheti dialect is the third most spoken language in London, after English and Polish.

Brick Lane has become the centre of London's Banglatown

Outside London, the Bangladeshi diaspora lies in areas such as Birmingham, with a population over 35,000 Bangladeshis, Sandwell with over 7,000 residents, specifically wards such as St Pauls., Tipton, and West Bromwich, Oldham, with over 15,000, Luton, with over 13,000, and Bradford with over 10,000, and Manchester, with over 10,000 British Bangladeshis. Other smaller populations include Portsmouth with over 6,000, Sunderland and Newcastle upon Tyne with over 3,000 people each, St Albans with 2,200, Leeds with 4,500, and Leicester with 3,500. The British Bangladeshi has grown drastically, and has grown from 283,000 residents (according to the 2001 UK Census), to 451,000 residents (according to the 2011 UK Census) of Bangladeshi descent.

Mass migration started since the days of the British Raj, where lascars from Sylhet were often sent to the United Kingdom. Some of these lascars lived in the United Kingdom in port cities, and even married British women. Since then, mass migration has occurred, specifically from Sylhet.

The street of Brick Lane in East London, 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. Many British Bangladeshis have made their presence in the UK, often becoming doctors, engineers, and lawyers, but also many have become politicians for the Labour and Conservative Parties, such as Rushanara Ali, and Tulip Siddiq, as well as London Borough Mayors, such as Lutfur Rahman and Nasim Ali.

United States[edit]

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 the United States. It was until the 1990s when Bangladeshis, many from Dhaka, Chittagong, and Sylhet, started to move to the United States, and settled in urban areas such as New York, Paterson in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, New Jersey 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., Atlantic Cityand other cities annually. The street of 3rd Street, Los Angeles has a large history of Bangladeshis and has officially been dubbed as "Little Bangladesh". However, some Bangladeshis residing in New York have settled in newer areas, such as Hamtramck, Michigan, Buffalo, New York, Paterson, New Jersey, and many other nearby states due to lower living costs and better job opportunities. Many Bangladeshis in New York City are often Taxi Drivers, Fast-Food Chain Workers, Restaurant Workers, etc. In Atlantic City many work in casinos.


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.


Bangladeshi Canadian refers to a person of Bangladeshi background born in Canada or a Bangladeshi that has migrated to Canada. Before 1971 about 150 Bengali people came to Canada as East Pakistani. Main influx of migration of Bangladeshis started early 80's. Back in 1988, about 700 Bangladeshi families lived in Toronto, though about another 900 families were living in Montreal. When Canadian Immigration opened up with Independent Category, huge number of educated Bangladeshis moved to Canada. Under Investor Category about 1100 families moved to Canada since 2015. By 2017 June, it is estimated that around 354,595 Bangladeshi people live in Canada,[15] 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. ^ "Asians in the Middle East" (PDF). Department of Economic and Social Affairs. United Nations.
  2. ^ "Labor Migration in the United Arab Emirates: Challenges and Responses". Migration Information Source. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Resident Population Estimates by Ethnic Group, All Persons: All Persons; All Ages; Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi (Persons)". Office for National Statistics.
  4. ^ [1] 2011 Census: Ethnic Group, local authorities in the United Kingdom, 11 October 2013, accessed 19 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Abuse of Bangladeshi Workers: Malaysian rights bodies for probe".
  6. ^ "ASIAN ALONE OR IN ANY COMBINATION BY SELECTED GROUPS: 2015". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  7. ^ "Bangladeshis storm Kuwait embassy". BBC News. 24 April 2005.
  8. ^ "Population of Qatar by nationality". BQ Magazine. 7 December 2014. Archived from the original on 22 December 2013.
  9. ^ "In pursuit of happiness". Korea Herald. 8 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Oman lifts bar on recruitment of Bangladeshi workers". 10 December 2007..
  11. ^ "Bangladeshis in Singapore". High Commission of Bangladesh, Singapore. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Bangladesh–Bahrain Bilateral Relations". Embassy of Bangladesh, Kingdom of Bahrain. 31 March 2007. Archived from the original on 2 December 2011.
  13. ^ "Maldives to recruit Bangladeshi workers". Bangladesh News. 2 August 2008. Archived from the original on 20 June 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  14. ^ Australian Government - Department of Immigration and Border Protection. "Bangladeshi Australians". Archived from the original on 1 August 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  15. ^ a b "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.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 August 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ "체류외국인 국적별 현황", 《2013년도 출입국통계연보》, South Korea: Ministry of Justice, 2013, p. 290, retrieved 5 June 2014
  19. ^ a b c "Bangladesh: Migrants fare badly in Italy". IRIN. 29 October 2010.
  20. ^[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ "Remittance flows 2015: Received: Bangladesh". Roxane Torre. April 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Bangladesh to send 2 million workers to Saudi Arabia". 5 February 2015. Archived from the original on 30 July 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Aina Nasa (27 July 2017). "More than 1.7 million foreign workers in Malaysia; majority from Indonesia". New Straits Times. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  25. ^ Bandhobi on IMDb
  26. ^ Admissions as of 12 July 2009. "Bandhobi (Movie - 2009)". HanCinema. Retrieved on 5 August 2009.