Drastic drop in blue-collar workers from Kerala to the Gulf and Middle East, says report



Kerala has seen a 90 per cent drop in the blue-collar workforce moving to Middle Eastern countries, signifying a substantial shift in migration patterns. This is despite the fact that there has been a 50 per cent increase in the migration of blue-collar workers from India to these countries in the first seven months of 2023.

According to a report by Huntr, a blue-collar worker placement platform, this void left by Kerala has been filled by Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar. The top five states that send labour to the GCC countries include UP, Bihar, Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. And the preferred destinations remain Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, the report said.

The report further reveals the demographic profile of Indian migrants to Dubai for the year 2023, including the age, sex and qualification of the workforce. According to Huntr, while migrants primarily comprised those in the age-group 20 to 40, indicative of a workforce in its prime working years, there has also been a notable increase in women migrants particularly in the hospitality sector, a move from a historically male-dominated manpower.

Qualifications among migrants also vary widely ranging from minimal formal education to vocational training, with skillsets tailored to specific roles. The report adds that a majority of the migrants hail from lower-income backgrounds, lured by the enhanced financial conditions the robust Dubai job market offers.

The study based on data on Huntr’s platform went on to anticipate the employment landscape of 2024, which projected a surge in demand for specific job roles in Dubai, including construction workers, manufacturing technicians, hospitality staff, and healthcare support staff. This shows a seamless alignment with the UAE’s investment in manufacturing and infrastructure, indicating a move to accommodate the influx of skilled workers from India.

This push for skilled workers could be one of the reasons for the drop in blue-collar workers from Kerala. A majority of immigrants from Kerala are educated and outside the ECR (Emigration Clearance Required) category, with most of them involved in skilled jobs in the destination countries.

Kerala which saw a surge in the number of migrants in the early years toiled hard abroad in difficult circumstances to fend for their family back home and educate their children. This has led to an educated population on the lookout for skilled jobs.



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