Bangladeshi diaspora

Bangladeshi diaspora
Bangladeshi diaspora
Regions with significant populations
 Pakistan 3,000,000 (2006) [1]
 Saudi Arabia 2,500,000 (2010) [2]
 UAE 1,000,000 (2009) [3]
 Malaysia 500,000 (2009) [4]
 UK 500,000 (2009) [5]
 Kuwait 230,000 (2008) [6]
 Oman 200,000 (2010) [7]
 Qatar 155,000 (2010) [8]
 USA 143,619 (2007) [9]
 South Korea 130,000 (2003) [10]
 Bahrain 90,000 (2007) [11]
 Singapore 80,000 (2006) [12]
 Italy 82,000 (2011) [13]
 Canada 40,000 (2008) [14]
 Australia 25,000 (2008) [15]
 Japan 15,000 (2008) [16]

Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism

Related ethnic groups

Bengali people

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, or to send money back to families in Bangladesh.

The world's largest Bangladeshi diaspora population is in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, where there are almost 3 million. There are also significant diaspora populations in the other 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 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 population). Besides the UK and Middle East, Bangladeshis also have a significant presence in the United States, mainly in New York (where many are also from Sylhet and other regions), in Far Eastern countries such as Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, and in other Western countries such as Italy, Canada, Australia.


Middle East

Although Bangladesh only came into existence in 1971, the land which is today Bangladesh has strong ties to the Middle East. 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.

Saudia Arabia

Saudi Arabia has over one 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

There are nearly half a million Bangladeshis residing in the United Arab Emirates.

South Asia


Bangladeshis in Pakistan are mostly illegal immigrants, and hence, an official number is unavailable. About 3 million Bangladeshis are estimated to be in Karachi alone, notably in the Chittagong Colony.[1]


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 [17].

Far East


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.[18]

South Korea

In South Korea, there are more than 130,000 Bangladeshi foreign workers in the country. A significant number of them are illegal immigrants.[10] This has led to some prejudice towards Bangladeshi immigrants, an issue recently tackled by the 2009 Korean film Bandhobi, directed by Sin Dong-il.[19][20]


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.[16]

Western world

United Kingdom

The British Bangladeshi community is one of the largest immigrant communities in the UK, which is also a well established throughout the communities. Bangladeshis primarily live in the city of London, mainly in the East London boroughs, of which the borough of 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 500,000 people had Bangladeshi heritage in Britain.

Bengalis 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 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, which the area has officially been dubbed as "Banglatown", which has over hundreds of "Indian" restaurants nearly all owned by Sylheti Bengalis. The Baishakhi Mela is held annually across the Brick Lane area annually attracting up to over 80,000 people, being the largest Asian open-air event in Europe.

Outside London, Westwood, Greater Manchester has the second largest concentration of Bangladeshi diaspora in UK.

United States

The census in 2000, found up to 95,300 were born in Bangladesh, therefore it is estimated there are around 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 and Washington D.C. In some parts of New York there are Bangladeshi restaurant owners. The celebration of the Bengali New Year is also held for the Bangladeshi American community annually.


Bangladeshi Canadian refers to a Bangladeshi person born in Canada or a Bangladeshi that has migrated to Canada. There is an estimated number of 24,595 Bangladeshi people who live in Canada [2], primarily in provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, & Alberta. They live in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, & Ottawa.

Bangladeshi Canadians are distinct from other Bengali diaspora groups because they are split amongst 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


  1. ^ a b "Falling back". Daily Times.\12\17\story_17-12-2006_pg12_3. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Asians in the Middle East
  3. ^ "Expatriate Bangladeshis in UAE remit more money home", People's Daily, 2006-09-04,, retrieved 2009-08-30 
  4. ^ Malaysia cuts Bangladeshi visas BBC News (BBC) (11 March 2009). Retrieved on 12 Mar 2009.
  5. ^ [1] Resident Population Estimates by Ethnic Group, All Persons All Persons; All Ages; Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi (Persons)
  6. ^ Bangladeshis storm Kuwait embassy BBC News (24 April 2005).
  7. ^ Oman lifts bar on recruitment of Bangladeshi workers Dhaka, Monday, Dec 10 2007 IST.
  8. ^ Qatar to take more Bangladeshi workers: FM (Thu, Mar 11th, 2010).
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b Rafiq Hasan (November 20, 2003). 4,000 Bangladeshis to return from Oman in December The Daily Star.
  11. ^ [2].
  12. ^ [3].
  13. ^ [4].
  14. ^ Maldives to recruit Bangladeshi worker, SATURDAY, 02 AUGUST 2008.
  15. ^ Bangladesh Demographic Profile Australia Bureau of Statistics (via Bangla Sydney)
  16. ^ a b [国籍別外国人登録者数の推移 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, 国籍別外国人登録者数の推移, retrieved 2008-04-08 
  17. ^ Nahar, K (2011) Maldives to deport thousands of illegal Bangladeshi workers, The Financial Express , 13 June 2011,, retrieved 16 July 2011, "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." 
  18. ^ "Malaysia cuts Bangladeshi visas", BBC News, 2009-03-11,, retrieved 2009-08-30 
  19. ^ Bandhobi at the Internet Movie Database
  20. ^ Admissions as of 12 July 2009. "Bandhobi (Movie - 2009)". HanCinema. Retrieved on 5 August 2009.

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