ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

India–Gulf Labour Migration in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic-associated developments in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries have had direct and adverse impacts on low- and semi-skilled migrant workers, including job loss, wage cuts and earning loss. The crisis has in many ways also exposed fault lines in the existing Indian migration governance system in dealing with the vulnerabilities experienced by such migrants; these gaps are structural in nature and have been prevailing for a long period. The article delineates some of the major policy interventions that merit immediate attention to make the migration policy architecture “migrant-centric,” thereby enhancing the migration and developmental outcomes of future labour outflows.

Of the diverse implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the world of work, those pertaining to low- and semi-skilled international migrant workers have been among the most severe. Apart from direct job losses, a sizeable proportion of low- and semi-skilled migrant workers all over the world are experiencing wage cuts, layoffs, reduction in working hours, and subsequent earning losses (Abella 2020; ILO 2020; World Bank 2020a). This has been starkly evident in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries which employ a substantial number of low- and semi-skilled migrant workers from labour-sending countries like India (Slater et al 2020).

The severity of the problem in the context of the India–Gulf migration corridor—one of the most significant migration corridors of the world—can be gauged from the fact that of the 20.55 lakh Indians evacuated from all over the world under the Vande Bharat Mission as on 29 October 2020,1 around 75% were migrants from the GCC countries (Ministry of External Affairs 2020a, 2020b). More strikingly, data from Kerala, which accounted for the highest number of repatriated migrants from GCC countries, show that of the 3.07 lakh retur­nees who registered their particulars with the state government till late August 2020, nearly 55% cited job loss as the reason for their return (NORKA 2020).

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Updated On : 23rd Aug, 2021
Back to Top