A major offset on the current account to the deficit on merchandise trade is the inflow of workers' remittances. In 1994/95 remittances from Bangladeshis working abroad were estimated to have grown by over 29%, to $1.3bn, sufficient to cover half the merchandise deficit. Another $500m- 600m is thought to be sent back through unofficial channels, where a more favourable rate of exchange can be obtained. The growth in remittances was reported to have continued in July and August last year, although at around half the overall 1994/95 rate.
Malaysia is now the most popular destination for Bangladeshi workers, with an estimated 161,000 working there legally. In order to keep up with demand, the Ministry of Labour and Manpower is stepping up worker-training schemes and the Institute of Foreign Languages is providing courses for workers to obtain a basic knowledge of English, Arabic and Bahasa Malay.