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Remittances from migrant workers play a significant role in keeping the economy of Bangladesh vibrant, adding around six per cent to the country’s GDP and helping to maintain the balance of payments. This article examines remittance flows from Hong Kong and Malaysia to Bangladesh; the dynamics of remittance practices; and the impact on the well-being of migrant families. Data were collected from 126 labour migrants (56 in Hong Kong and 70 in Malaysia) between November 2004 and October 2006. The article presents empirical data showing that while remittances are significant component of the Bangladeshi economy, a considerable amount goes to ‘unproductive’ schemes. Hence remittances at the micro level that do not significantly contribute to increasing household capacities fail to bring about the anticipated sustainable development at the macro level.

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