International Migration from Kerala to Gulf Nations Declining, Says Report

Ageing population and decline in number of people in migration-prone age groups could accentuate a downward trend in international migration.


International migration from Kerala to traditional destinations like the Gulf countries will decline further while African regions could emerge as a prominent destination for migrant workers from the state, according to a research paper released recently by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) and Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID).

The mortality and fertility levels of Kerala have touched near saturation bottom levels, and migration plays a critical role in shaping the future demographic scenario, the report showed.

Ageing of the population and a decline in the number of people in the migration-prone age groups could lead to international migration from the state dipping further, the report said.

The research paper, titled Impact of Mortality and Fertility Transitions in Kerala on Migration and Its Implications for the State’s Economy, stated that migration has been and continues to be a significant catalyst in the development of Kerala.

“The nationalization schemes and similar measures in the Middle East region may further reduce migration of Keralites to the region that accounted for more than four-fifths of the international migrants from Kerala,” the research paper stated.

This is likely to result in a reduction of remittances, adversely affecting the economy of the state.

However, it is also likely that the African region may emerge as a prominent destination for migrant workers from Kerala.

The number of international migrants from Kerala peaked during 2013, with 2.4 million migrants from the state living outside the country, and then declined to 2.2 million in 2016, according to the paper. Both international migration and migration to the other states from Kerala have registered downward trends, the paper pointed out.

“Not that Africa will become next Gulf but Africa is growing and we can go and invest in Africa and create employment for them. Countries like Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda and other African nations have growing economies and big needs for education health, infrastructure, etc.,” Muralee Thummarukudy, the chief of disaster risk reduction of United Nations Environment Program, said, the Times of India reported.

In 2016, remittances to Kerala constituted 36.3 per cent of the state’s Net State Domestic Product, and were also capable of wiping out 60 per cent of the state’s public debt. “As avenues outside India are not promising in the near future, Keralites will have to vigorously tap the opportunities within the country as the urban India expands. The state’s economy is to a large extent dependent on the migrant workforce in the emerging demographic scenario,” the paper said.

Migration has become an all-pervasive phenomenon in Kerala that has influenced every aspect of life, impacting female education, infrastructure, prices, wages, transportation and status of women.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *