Sharp drop in Indians going to the Gulf for employment

The number of Indians going to the Gulf region for employment has seen a sharp decline in the last three years, according to statistics from the ministry of external affairs.

A total of 3.4 lakh Indians obtained emigration clearance in 2018 to go to the 18 countries that require such clearance, a fall of 35% from just two years ago.

The numbers are based on data for the 18 countries, including 16 in the Middle East, plus Thailand and Indonesia.

In 2016, a total of 5.21 lakh Indians obtained emigration clearance to go to these countries for work. This number fell to 3.61 lakh in 2017, and fell again to 3.4 lakh in 2018.


The fall has been seen in numbers from all states of India.

Uttar Pradesh, for example, sent 1.44 lakh workers to these places in 2016, which fell to 86,273 last year.

Bihar, the second biggest exporter of man power to these countries, saw its number fall from 76,385 to 59,181.

The third biggest contributor of workers, West Bengal, also saw a decline from 53,346 in 2016 to 28,648 in 2018.

At No.4, Tamil Nadu saw a fall from 42,543 to 31,588 over the same period.

Employment opportunities in Gulf countries has shrunk in recent years due to an overall climate of economic slowdown as well as rising ‘indigenization’ drives in these countries.

Saudi Arabia, for example, has been ruling out more and more jobs for foreign workers every year and reserving them for locals.

All this has forced lakhs of Indian workers to return from the Gulf countries in the last four years, as was revealed by recent data from the ministry.