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Theoretical rhetoric about migration networks: A case of a journey of Bangladeshi workers to Malaysia



This paper analyses the routes that Bangladeshi migrant workers take to get to Malaysia. This paper also tests the basic tenets and the applicability of networks theory with the empirical reality on the routes. In order to test it, the route negotiated by Bangladeshi migrant workers from Bangladesh to Malaysia is considered. Network theory proposes that migration, in terms of reduction of costs and mitigation of risks, is facilitated by networks.

Data demonstrate that majority of the respondents had incurred exorbitant costs on their migration. To get to their destination, half of the respondents took around a month, a quarter of them took between one and two months, while a person traveling in a normal way could make the same air journey safely in three hours. En route they suffered many other severe adversities: such as starvation, maltreatment, and were forced to pass through deep jungles. Thus, this study directly challenges the theory by illustrating that despite their access to networks, their migration was marked by a lengthy, painful, and hazardous journey.