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Gulf migration study: Employment, wages and working conditions of Kerala emigrants in the United Arab Emirates


  • K.C. Zachariah

    (Centre for Development Studies)

  • B.A. Prakash

    (Centre for Development Studies)

  • S. Irudaya Rajan

    (Centre for Development Studies)


This is the fourth in a series of Working Papers published by the CDS on Kerala migration. Unlike the other three, this one is financed by the Kerala Government and the data were collected in UAE. The objectives of this Working Paper are to: document changes in the labour demand for different categories of emigrant workers, enumerate the emigration policies, examine employment and working conditions, wage levels and related problems of the Kerala emigrants, understand the education and training requirements of future emigrants to UAE. This paper is noteworthy in a number of ways for its contributions to our understanding of Kerala migration to the Gulf countries. It gives the most authentic estimate of the annual remittances to Kerala from the Gulf countries and from other parts of the world. The average annual estimate of the total remittances from all countries of the world is Rs 13,815 crores for the period 1998-2000. Remittances from the Gulf countries alone would be about Rs 12,640 crores. The paper concludes that changes in the immigration policy of the UAE government, completion of major infrastructure projects and economic recession in the region have reduced substantially the demand for unskilled and semi-skilled labourers in the UAE. The new policies are related to demographic balancing, emiratization, banning visa for unskilled Asian workers, large-scale mechanisation to make unskilled labour very expensive, etc. The UAE government has also stopped accepting applications for visas for unskilled workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with effect from 18th July 1999. Future demand will be for categories of skilled workers, technicians, computer workers, heavy equipment operators, electrical workers and professional categories such as doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers and accountants. The future emigrants from Kerala should be equipped to meet the changing demand for migrant labour in UAE.

Suggested Citation

  • K.C. Zachariah & B.A. Prakash & S. Irudaya Rajan, 2002. "Gulf migration study: Employment, wages and working conditions of Kerala emigrants in the United Arab Emirates," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 326, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:cdswpp:326

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. K.C. Zachariah & P.R. Gopinathan Nair & S. Irudaya Rajan, 2001. "Return emigrants in Kerala: Rehabilitation problems and development potential," Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum Working Papers 319, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum, India.
    2. Faini,Riccardo C. & de Melo,Jaime & Zimmermann,Klaus (ed.), 1999. "Migration," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521662338, Fall.
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    Cited by:

    1. IRIS Knowledge Foundation IKF, 2014. "Jobs and Livelihoods Mapping the Landscape," Working Papers id:5918, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item


    Kerala; remittances; emigration; United Arab Emirates;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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