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International Migration, Return Migration and Occupational Mobility: Evidence from Kerala, India

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  • Anu Abraham

    (NMIMS University)

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of international migration on the occupational mobility of workers over the three phases of labour migration—pre-emigration, emigration and post-return—by constructing mobility matrices using the sample of return emigrants from the Kerala Migration Survey 2011. The study finds that a large proportion of emigrants from Kerala take up occupations in the service sector while abroad irrespective of their pre-emigration occupation or training. Most emigrants return, while they are still in the labour force, and the major reason for returning is adverse labour market conditions at the destination. Though around half of the return emigrants report the inclination to take up entrepreneurial activities, only about 10% are engaged in self-employment, suggesting that there is no real evidence of a rapid boost to entrepreneurship. The study finds that there is moderate mobility between the pre-emigration occupation and the occupation abroad as well as between the occupation abroad and post-return, but not between occupations in the pre-emigration–post-return phases, indicating that workers move out of their traditional occupations while abroad, but most likely return to their original occupation post-return. Work experience abroad does not cause any significant upward mobility in any occupational groups except among professionals, who move to managerial positions post-return.

Suggested Citation

  • Anu Abraham, 2020. "International Migration, Return Migration and Occupational Mobility: Evidence from Kerala, India," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 63(4), pages 1223-1243, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ijlaec:v:63:y:2020:i:4:d:10.1007_s41027-020-00284-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s41027-020-00284-9
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    International labour migration; Return migration; Occupational mobility; Transition matrix; Kerala; India;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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