Bangladesh receives nearly half of its total remittances from India.
Migrant workers from the impoverished South Asian country sent home $14 billion last year, according to the World Bank. Bangladeshi workers in India transferred more than $6.6 billion to their home country, making them the biggest source of remittances to Bangladesh. This is more than four times the money being sent from Saudi Arabia, the second-highest contributor.
India is a preferred destination among Bangladeshi migrants because of the low cost of migration. “Migrants can avoid securing a plethora of documents including issuance of passports if they migrate to India,” says a study published by the Asia Foundation in 2013.
A return bus ticket from Dhaka to Agartala costs $10.
Half a million visas
While there aren’t recent data available on the total number of Bangladeshis staying in India, we do know that nearly 500,000 visas were issued in 2012-13.
Illegal immigration has become a hot-button issue in India. Prime minister Narendra Modi reiterated his strong stance against illegal immigrants during his elections rallies this year.
“They must go back, they are robbing the youths of India of their livelihood,” Modi said in a rally in West Bengal, the Indian state that neighbours Bangladesh.
Foreign workers in India sent home nearly $11.1 billion in 2012. Almost all of this money went to other South Asian countries.
It is not entirely a one-way traffic, though. Indians working in Bangladesh sent $3.7 million home in 2012. This makes the eastern neighbour the fifth highest contributor of remittance inflows.
India is also at the top of the remittances league and non resident Indians sent $70 billion home last year. The UAE is the largest source of remittances coming to India.