UAE most favoured destination of Keralites

By Sanu George, IANS

Thiruvananthapuram : A study on non-resident Keralites shows that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to be the most favoured destination of people from Kerala seeking employment abroad.

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These results have come out in the third round of the Migration Monitoring Studies (MMS) being conducted by the Research Unit on International Migration of the Centre for Development Studies (CDSMRU). The Department of Non-Resident Keralite Affairs of the Kerala government is financing the studies.

MMS 2007, conducted during April-September 2007, was the third in this series. The first one, called the Kerala Migration Study (KMS), was conducted in 1998. The second one was conducted five years later in 2003.

The studies have shown that the non-resident Keralite population rose from 1.36 million in 1998 to 1.84 million in 2003 and grew a shade to touch 1.85 million in the latest study.

According to S. Irudayarajan of the CDSMRU, international migrants constituted 37 percent of the population in UAE in 2003 but now make up 42 percent of the inhabitants.

“In the first study it was Saudi Arabia which led from the front, and now it is UAE. Kuwait also is coming up fast. Outside of the Middle East, the US is a major destination and it has 5.7 percent of non-resident Keralites. The share of the US was only 2.2 percent in 1998,” Irudayarajan told IANS.

The Muslim dominated Malappuram district has the largest number of non-resident Keralites and has been retaining the number one position from 1998 onwards.

Kannur district is now giving Malappuram competition and since 1998 its share has jumped from a mere 6.5 percent to 13.8 percent with 254,000 non-resident Keralites working abroad.

The study shows that Kerala received about Rs.240 billion as remittances in 2006-07, which is about 20 percent of the state’s net state domestic product and 30 percent more than the state’s annual receipts.