Why the Gulf countries are the favorite destination of the Indian diaspora
According to the report by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, International Migration 2020 Highlights, India has the largest diaspora population in the world.
The report said 18 million people in India lived outside their country of birth.
According to the data presented by the 2020 data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nearly 13.6 million Indians live outside India. The majority of this number, 3,41,000, reside in the United Arab Emirates.
The United Arab Emirates are followed by Saudi Arabia with 2,594,957 Indians followed by the United States with 12,80,000. Kuwait hosts 10 29,861 Indians, Oman 7 79,351, Qatar 7 56,062.
According to the MEA, the majority of NRIs, nearly 7.6 million live in the Middle East.
Historical links with the region
Large numbers of Indians leave the country in search of education or work. The majority of them as mentioned above arrive in the Gulf countries. The main reason for this migration to the Gulf is the employment opportunities available there.
The exchange and engagement between the peoples of India and the Middle East has been around for ages. We find ample evidence of this throughout history. Much historical evidence of commerce and the exchange of ideas and knowledge can be found.
Seals from Mesopotamia have been found at Harrapan sites. This exchange between peoples intensified in medieval times, trade between two regions flourished as Arab traders arrived on Indian shores long before the Muslim conquest of India.
The Kerela region was very exposed to Arab traders, evidence of which can also be seen in today’s Karela. Things changed dramatically after the start of Muslim rule in India.
Links have been established between Muslims in the Arab, Persian and Turkish regions. Many Muslims from the Middle East came to settle in India. India has become favorable to Muslims from the Muslim world to come and trade and even settle.
The oil boom changed everything
Things in modern history change dramatically after the Gulf oil boom in the 1970s. As oil money began to flow in, the underdeveloped Gulf countries began to invest heavily in infrastructure work. and development. This has created huge job opportunities.
In addition, these countries themselves had a reduced population and workforce, and so the influx of migrant workers began. The majority of the workforce needed at that time was semi-skilled and unskilled workers. And most of these workers came from the Indian subcontinent.
Since countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh had large populations of semi-skilled and unskilled workers who were unemployed or paid less. The lower class Indians viewed these countries as a destination for earning money.
These countries were the fastest growing countries at the time. As the economic cycle began to accelerate, the avenues developed. The supply of labor was not limited to semi-skilled and unskilled labor, but also to white-collar jobs.
As countries became more and more developed, the need for jobs for upper classes like doctors, engineers, architects, managers, accountants etc. was in demand. Since these countries were already a destination for Indians, many Indians migrated for the best jobs available there.
In 2012, 30% of Indians in GCC countries worked in white collar jobs, while 70% worked as semi-skilled or unskilled workers.
Remittances are good for the Indian economy
Besides jobs for millions, the diaspora living in the Middle East is very beneficial to the Indian economy. This benefit comes in the form of remittances that the diaspora sends back to India.
Remittance is the non-commercial transfer of money by a member of the diaspora to their country. This money is usually sent to his family to spend it at home. This money adds to the national income and ensures the inflow of capital into a country.
India consistently remains the largest recipient of remittances in the world. In 2020, India received over $ 83 billion in remittances compared to $ 83 billion in 2019. Remittances accounted for around 3.1% of India’s GDP in 2020.
This share was 1.45% in 1980. The majority of these remittances come from the Gulf countries. In 2017, $ 37 billion was sent to India from GCC countries.
These represented about 54% of the total remittances received that year. In 2018, India received $ 79 billion in 2018 remittances. Of these, $ 11.2 billion was from Saudi Arabia, $ 13.8 billion from the United Arab Emirates, 4, Kuwait $ 6 billion, Qatari $ 4.1 and Oman $ 3.3 billion.
The Gulf countries, in addition to being luxurious tourist destinations, offer great employment opportunities to millions of Indians while being profitable for the Indian economy.