Lesser people from the Indian state of Kerala is travelling to the middle east in search of jobs according to a study.  The study revealed that there has been a decrease of 11.6 per cent of migration in the Gulf countries from Kerala between 2013 and 2018. According to the findings of the latest Kerala Migration Survey (KMS), the factors for this is the reducing population in the 19-25 age-group and stagnant wages in the Gulf countries.

Along with those factors, the hike in the cost of utility bills, delay in salaries of workers in Bahrain in addition to the Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed, the gradual decrease of numbers in the expat community is becoming a reality.

“Of the 2.1 million emigrants (from Kerala in the Gulf and elsewhere), 15.8 per cent are females. However, there is a reduction of 3 lakhs migrants, which is one-tenth of the number of migrants in 2013. In 2018, we reached a stage where migrants figure shown a negative growth of 11.6 per cent," S. Irudaya Rajan, who led the Kerala Migration Survey (KMS) 2018, told the media.

He emphasized that many expatriates were compelled to return home due to the decrease in the salary in the GCC in addition to the rise in the income in Kerala. Except for one year, the gulf economy has also seen a major setback due to the fall in prices of global crude.


Bahrain has seen a fall in the number of Indians from 1.49 lakh in 2013 to 81,000 in 2018 according to the survey whereas the only country to see a rise in numbers is Qatar, where the population of Keralites increased from 1.06 lakh in 2013 to 1.86 lakh in 2018.


The main reason why most people migrate to other parts of the globe is to increase their source of income and help to gain more savings. But when the capacity of saving reduces, it is natural that this is a de-motivating factor for many expatriates. “Another reason is wages in the domestic economy have increased compared to other states,” said Irudaya Rajan.

“However, remittances to the state have increased. This is due to the fact that Keralites’ in the Gulf have climbed the social ladder and are earning higher wages, allowing them to remit more. Thanks to the weakening rupee, families remit more. The KMS 2018, has also confirmed that the migration from Kerala is falling and the return of migrants is on the rise,” he added.

Concluding his findings, he said the long history of migration from Kerala to the Gulf is in its last phase.

The study was conducted through a survey of 15,000 households and was funded by the Kerala government's Department of Non-Resident Keralites' Affairs. The study notes that 89.2 per cent of the total migrants from Kerala are in the Middle East countries.