Migration from Kerala to Gulf falls
Manama, October 28, 2012
Rising wages in India has led to a steady fall in the number of expatriates from India's Kerala state working in Bahrain, according to a study.
Their number has decreased from 108,507 in 2003 to 101,556 last year, a trend that has been noticed in the UAE and Kuwait as well, a Gulf Daily News report quoting the Kerala Migration Survey (KMS) study said.
"Kerala's Gulf connection is edging towards a turning point," said the survey. "Many of the major centres of emigration in Kerala are already experiencing a decline in the number of emigrants."
The study says the UAE has the largest number of Keralites living in the GCC with 883,313, followed by Saudi Arabia with 574,739; Oman 195,300; Qatar 148,427; and Kuwait 127,782.
"The principal countries of destination of Kerala emigrants have remained more or less unchanged over these years, with 90 per cent of them going to one or the other Gulf countries.
"The number of Kerala emigrants who returned and are living in Kerala in 2011 is estimated to be 1.15 million."
The study attributed the decline in Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait to the closing of the gap between wages offered to unskilled workers in Kerala compared with what they earn in the Gulf and the increasing cost of emigration.
It documented the average wage among unskilled workers in Kerala had tripled during the first decade of the century from 150 rupees (BD1) per day to more than 450 rupees (BD3).
"The corresponding wage in the Gulf did not increase as fast as it did in Kerala," said the study. "It could have even decreased during the depression years."
The main districts affected by the decline are Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Thrissur and Palakkad.
But despite the statistics, the study said the glamour associated with emigrating to the region remained "very strong" among young people.
It also found the amount of money Keralites were remitting home had steadily increased and amounted to 500 billion rupees last year.
"Kerala is receiving an increasing amount of money from abroad as workers' remittances at rates outpacing even the extent of emigration," said the report.
"The economic benefits that the state receives from these annual remittances are huge, but they have to be balanced with the huge loss to the state in the matter of human resources."
The study was based on data collected from 15,000 randomly selected households and put together by 60 field enumerators and 14 supervisors who studied the positive and negative effects of migration.
Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador Dr Mohan Kumar met Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to discuss measures to promote welfare of people from Kerala in Bahrain during a visit to India. - TradeArabia News Service
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