Introduction and Methodology
Between the months of February and March 2020, more
than 200,000 labor migrants returned to Bangladesh as
the Covid-19 pandemic caused mass business and
industry closures in destination countries such as Saudi
Arabia and Malaysia.1 Hundreds of thousands were left
unemployed, facing uncertain futures. To better
understand the short- and long-term needs of this
population, the USAID Asia Counter Trafficking in
Persons (CTIP) project, implemented by Winrock
International, collected information from 155 returned
Bangladeshi migrants through a quantitative study that
took place from May 15 to June 4.2
Data was collected remotely through phone-based
interviews using a closed-question survey. Kobo Toolbox
software was used for all data collection. The sample
was generated from contact information gathered on
migrants who had returned to Bangladesh within the last
12 months. The database of information was compiled
by district governments in Jessore and Cox’s Bazar, and
was obtained with permission by two local organizations,
Nongor and Rights Jessore (partners of the USAID
Bangladesh CTIP project, also implemented by Winrock
International). A random sample of 200 people was
taken among those who had returned to Bangladesh
after January 2020. Of those, 155 were reached by
phone and agreed to participate in the phone interview.
No other parameters were used for identifying or
choosing the sample (i.e. income level, employment

As of 2018, women made up about 14% of the total flow
of labor migrants from Bangladesh.3
Roughly half of respondents were in Jessore district and
half in Cox’s Bazar.
Table 1: Respondents by district




Cox’s Bazar












Due to the small sample size and limited geographical
coverage, results should be taken with caution and
cannot be assumed as representative of the migrant
population. However, the findings do shine a light on the
current situation and needs of some migrants as well as
their knowledge of Covid-19.

Of the 155 respondents who participated in interviews,
95% were male and 5% were female. The small
percentage of women reached was because men
dominated the lists of returned migrants. This is quite
representative of the migration context: many more
Bangladeshi men migrate for work than women.


Anadolu Agency, 2020. Accessed online:

This is the second brief in a series. Data was also collected with
migrants in Cambodia and Nepal.


Labor Migration from Bangladesh 2018: Achievements and
Challenges, RMMRU, 2019. Accessed online:

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