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Gulf countries losing charm for Keralites.

Muscat: The migration of Kerala people to the Gulf may dip in the next five years, if the survey reports are to be believed.

A survey conducted by the Centre foraDevelopment Studies indicates that the migration may diminish much before 2015. The number of Kerala emigrants (EMI) living abroad in 2011 was estimated to be 2.28 million, up from 2.19 million in 2008, 1.84 million in 2003 and 1.36 million in 1998.

"Trends emerging from these studies support the conclusion that emigration from Kerala seems to be approaching an inflexion point in history. Kerala's Gulf connection is edging towards a turning point. Emigration from Kerala in 2011 was more or less at the same level as it was in 2008, indicating that 2011 was not far from the inflexion point in the history of emigration from Kerala. Many of the major centres of emigration in Kerala are already experiencing a decline in the number of emigrants and/or emigrants per household," the study says.

This Kerala Migration Survey 2011 is financed by the Non-Resident Keralite Affairs (NORKA), Government of Kerala and executed by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (Government of India) Research Unit on International Migration at Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Kerala.


This working paper embodies the results of the Kerala Migration Survey (KMS) 2011. It is the fifth in the series of comprehensive studies on international and internal migration from Kerala being undertaken by the Centre for Development Studies since 1998. Over the years, some broad patters on migration have emerged from these studies. Some of these are enumerated in this abstract.

"Supporting evidence is provided by the trends in the factors related to migration - demographic contraction of young working age population in Kerala, dwindling wage differentials between Kerala and the Gulf region, competition from other Indian states in India and other countries abroad, and above all, the rapidly increasing cost of emigration. All these trends point towards emergence of an era of decreasing trend in emigration from Kerala. Kerala's Gulf connection could reach its inflexion point in a matter of 4-5 years" the survey adds.

P. M. Jabir, member, non-resident Kerala Welfare Fund Board, says, "It is true that the number of Keralities coming to the Gulf has decreased. Many factors, including nationalisation of jobs, Keralities preferring other countries to the Middle East are among others. I challenge the figures mentioned in the survey."

The number of Kerala emigrants who returned and started living in Kerala (REM) in 2011 is estimated to be 1.15 million. There was a small decrease in the number of emigrants returning to the state during 2008-2011. It was 1.16 million in 2008.

Migrants who returned and are now living in Kerala are estimated to be 511,000 in 2011. The corresponding number was 686,000 in 2008, 994,000 in 2003 and 959,000 in 1998. There was a consistent decline in the number of return out-migrants. More and more Kerala migrants living in other states in India tend to stay back or move abroad instead of returning to their native state.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Oct 14, 2012
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