Cross-Border Immigrant Workers in Assam North-East India

21 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2011

See all articles by Rikil Chyrmang

Rikil Chyrmang

Centre for Development Studies (CDS) affiliated to Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Date Written: November 26, 2011


The issue of cross-border immigrant workers from Bangladesh into Assam’s North-East India has been unique and unprecedented in nature and intensity for the last three decades. It is highly sensitive one when it comes to refers to illegal migration. People attempted to rage debate on this particular issue and there now exists a good volume of literature on illegal immigration. Very limited studies across the globes focus on the issue of immigrant workers and their rights at the destination country. Against the paucity of literature this study is emphasis. Therefore, the research questions are formulated as: What do we understand about cross-border immigration, particularly in the context of Assam’s North-East India, its causes and consequences? What steps can be taken for cross-border labour migration? How can the rights of these migrants be safeguarded under the relevant of ILO conventions? What is the impact of different types of local intervention by the non-State actors on migration? Specifically, this paper focuses on immigrant workers working in different sectors of the Assam economy using secondary data from Indian Census. It is found that the majority of immigrant workers is engaged in agriculture and allied activities. The share of female migrant workers in agriculture and industry in both the rural and urban areas is greater compared to their male counterparts, whereas the percentage share of males engaged in the service sector in both the rural and urban areas are more than females. The rich in agriculture and natural resources of Assam economy may have attracted the immigrant workers from Bangladesh. Other than the official statistics there are concerns about the influx of the illegal immigrant workers into Assam which are unwelcomed by the local citizens due to fear of competition for their jobs and loss of cultural identity. Instead, the local people resist the settler migrant workers. To promote and protect the welfare of the migrant workers and to ensure their right to work, India should establish and study the contribution of immigrant workers so as to formulate a policy that will be benefit both countries. Bilateral and multilateral discussions among sending and receiving countries could help.

Keywords: Cross-border immigration, Immigrant Workers, Workers Rights

JEL Classification: F22, J83, J61

Suggested Citation

Chyrmang, Rikil, Cross-Border Immigrant Workers in Assam North-East India (November 26, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Rikil Chyrmang (Contact Author)

Centre for Development Studies (CDS) affiliated to Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi ( email )

Prasanth Nagar
Trivandrum 695 011, Kerala 695011
09846463925 (Phone)

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