UAE still favoured destination for Indian workers

India's Consul General to the UAE Venu Rajamony said that an estimated 1.5 million Indians are in the UAE with 1.2 million of them in Dubai and Northern Emirates.

They are mostly from the South Indian states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh as estimated by the Embassy, he said.

Rajamony, speaking at the international conference on 'Financial crisis in the Gulf and its impact on South and South East Asian Migrants' at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in Kerala recently, said in 2008, the UAE was the single most preferred destination for Indian workers followed by Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Malaysia and Bahrain.

Rajamony also said that the migration of workers monitored by the 'Indian Protector of Emigrants' rose 11.87 per cent in 2008 over 2007.

On the issue of workers returning back to their home states owing to financial crisis, he pointed out that exact numbers are difficult to obtain as workers do not need to report to the Indian diplomatic missions before they leave.

There are more than 5 million Indians in the Gulf. "Migration from India has been a natural and spontaneous flow in response to economic need of host countries in the Gulf," he said.

Rajamony said approvals by the consulate for group recruitment saw a steep fall this year in January and February but picked up marginally in March and April.

On transfer certificates (TCs), a survey of Indian schools reveals that there has been no discernable trend. Fees seemed to have been a more important factor than recession.

On the subject of labour complaints, Rajamony said that there has been a marginal decrease in numbers.

UAE official figures show 6,62,000 new labour visas were issued between October 2008 and March 2009. He also said there has been "no signs of sudden exodus".

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