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Migration of Sylhetis to the United Kingdom: An Exploration

Social Work Chronicle

Volume 2 Issue 1 & 2

Published: 2013
Author(s) Name: Tulshi Kumar Das | Author(s) Affiliation: Professor in Dept. of Social Work at Shahjalal University of Science & Tech., Sylhet, Bangladesh
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Abstract

Migration of Sylhetis to the UK is an age-old tradition. There are different reasons identified by many researchers for this trend of migration. The present study deals with a number of issues like demographic profile of migrants, historical background of migration, language and identity of Sylheti migrants, their socioeconomic problems and the situation of entrepreneurship and remittance in Sylhet region. The article is based on data collected from secondary sources. It shows that there is a gradual increase of Sylheti migrants in the UK, especially in London, from nineteenth century to date. Travel between Sylhet and Britain is found out in nineteenth century itself when both the places were connected to each other through imperial trading routes from Kolkata. Now more than 2.1% of total population living in London are Bengali migrants. Sylheti migrants seem to be sensitive for mostly twin identity, British Bengali and Bengali as well. They also value their Sylheti identity to some extent. The migrants face many socioeconomic problems like unemployment, ill health, lack of education etc. Majority of the migrants are employed in hotels, restaurants, catering services and textile industries. Self employment is common among the migrants; and Bengali women’s participation in the labor market is frustrating. The study also reveals that 65% of Bengali migrants in the UK live below poverty line. Enterprise development on the basis of remittances did not take place in Sylhet region; and remittances are mostly used in unproductive sectors.

Keywords: N.A.

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