Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Recession leaves 37000 Kerala expats jobless: Study

Thiruvananthapuram: At least 37,000 emigrants from Kerala have lost jobs overseas because of the global recession, says a report released Tuesday by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), a city-based think tank.

The study, titled 'Impact of Global Recession on Kerala Emigrants: Unemployment, Return Migration and Remittances', was conducted by demographers K.C. Zachariah and S. Irudaya Rajan and funded by the state government's Non-resident Keralites Affairs Department.

Zachariah, while presenting the findings of the study, said most non-resident Malayalees returned for reasons not related to recession.

'We estimate that the number of emigrants who returned due to recession would at most be 63,000. This number could be as small as 37,000 also,'the study noted.

About 173,000 emigrants from Kerala returned home between October 2008 and June 2009.

Interestingly, 142,000 new emigrants reached Middle East on employment visas apart from another 97,000 people who had worked in the region earlier and again got jobs in the Gulf on fresh employment visas.

The report said 53 percent of unemployed emigrants are from the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia accounts for about 14 percent, Kuwait 6 percent, and Oman and Bahrain account for 4 percent each.

Irudayarajan said cash remittances to the state rose seven percent during the period under study.

'This is quite an unexpected result. Recession is supposed to decrease remittances, not increase it,' he told.

According to Irudayarajan, remittances could have increased as some emigrants were returning home permanently bringing with them all their accumulated wealth.

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