Environmental influences on skilled worker migration from Bangladesh to Canada

Type

Journal Article

Author(s)

McLeman, R.
Moniruzzaman, M.
Akter, N.

Title

Environmental influences on skilled worker migration from Bangladesh to Canada

Year

2017

Journal

The Canadian Geographer / Le GĂ©ographe canadien

Abstract

We conducted focus groups in Toronto with 44 recent skilled worker immigrants from Bangladesh to explore whether their decisions to migrate to Canada may have been influenced by environmental problems. Previous research has documented how floods, cyclones, droughts, and seasonal precipitation variations affect rural-urban migration patterns within Bangladesh, and to its neighbours. Most participants had not experienced such environmental hazards, having lived in Dhaka prior to migrating. However, Dhaka’s ongoing problems with air and water pollution, sanitation, lack of green space, and food adulteration were cited by 70% as being relevant considerations for the decision to migrate. The degree of influence varied considerably among participants. Roughly 16% said pollution was their primary motivation for leaving, household members having suffered from illnesses traceable to air pollution or poor sanitation. Another 54% stated that Dhaka’s environmental problems were part of a wider range of quality-of-life concerns that had some influence on their decision. The findings suggest that current migration to Canada is not connected with environmental migration that takes place within Bangladesh, but that urban environmental problems combined with other social, economic, and political factors can help drive migration.

Citation

McLeman, R., Moniruzzaman, M., & Akter, N. (2017). Environmental influences on skilled worker migration from Bangladesh to Canada. The Canadian Geographer / Le GĂ©ographe canadien. DOI : 10.1111/cag.12430