264,000 Asians lose jobs in Gulf

Presenting the study here on Monday, S Irudayarajan and D Narayana of the CDS said the financial crisis that originated in the US impacted the Gulf Cooperation Council countries soon after.

“The impact of the global crisis on the Gulf Cooperation Council ( GCC) economies has been analysed in terms of sectors affected and changes in GDP growth and employment of expatriate labourers,” said Irudayarajan.

Study teams visited the six GCC countries and Malaysia to interview labourers as well as employers in various sectors.

It found that the global crisis affected the GCC economies by impacting oil prices, depressing property and equity prices, lowering investor confidence, and reversing of capital flows.

The study was funded by the  Asian Development Bank, the Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry and the State Government’s Department of Non-Resident Keralite Affairs.
It found out that the construction boom in the GCC countries has come to a halt with 20-30 per cent of bookings getting cancelled, the bulk of it in Dubai.

The phenomenal growth in employment over the past six years has come to a halt, and about 40 per cent of workers have been affected.

Expatriates did not leave in large numbers, the study noted, but added that there were salary cuts, freezing of increments, and scrapping of benefits and perks. “We found that about 61,000 emigrants from Kerala have returned,” said Irudayarajan. “Applying the methodology of the Kerala resurvey to South Asia as a whole, the return emigrants from the Gulf are estimated to be a maximum of 264,000.”

Ironically, the study said, despite the crisis and job loss, demand for expatriates continues in the Gulf as is evident from the outflow of migrant workers from South Asia.

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