Over 14 per cent of Non-Resident Keralites (NRK) return to their home country owing to many health issues. According to the Kerala Migration Survey (KMS) 2018, back pain or body pain was the most common problem faced by expatriates working abroad. This in a way forced almost 19.5 per cent of such people to leave. At 12.4 per cent, accidents were the second most common cause, said the survey conducted by the Centre for Development Studies.

The latest KMS study shows that over 12.95 lakh of them, of which 42,325 returned in the past five years.  In fact, only 3.9 per cent of the over 12 lakh expatriates (around 50,000) who returned to Kerala said they had achieved what they had set out for which required them to migrate in the first place. 

“Those who returned stating that they wanted to come back to Kerala accounted for 7.3 per cent. The findings throw light on the hardships faced by Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) toiling abroad. A major chunk of the NRKs who returned owing to illness were unskilled or semi-skilled labourers from the Gulf region,” said S Irudayarajan who led the survey.

“Construction workers in the Gulf have to toil for long hours in the hot sun. Back pain was a common problem among them. Many also complained of stomach pain,” he said. “Most migrant Keralites compromise on their eating habits, lifestyle and work overtime to earn for their families here.,” he said.

The remedy: Irudayarajan suggests all NRKs to get insurance coverage.