The number of workers from southern India moving to the Gulf to find work has declined by more than three quarters since 2008, with government officials citing improved wages and conditions in India as the main contributing factors.
Figures from the Indian Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs showed 88,389 Indian workers from southern India left to work in the Gulf during the height of the real estate boom in the Middle East in 2008.
The number had fallen sharply to 21,129 last year, a decline of 76 percent. Figures for the first seven months of the year show 10,317 workers moved to the Gulf to seek employment. Taken as a reflection of the full year this would give a figure of 17686, which would represent an 80 percent drop in five years.
"The decline in number means that the job scenario here for them is improving and they are satisfied with payments here. This could also mean people are not ready to go abroad for lesser pay and could land in a job of their choice here," D Jai Sankar, Protector of Emigrants (PoE) at the ministry, was quoted as saying by the Times of India newspaper.
The UAE was the focus for much of the construction boom, building mega projects such as the world tallest tower – the Burj Khalifa – in Dubai. A total of 56,220 workers in the last five years moved to the UAE, ranking it as the number one destination.
Second was Kuwait with 52,739, followed by Malaysia, which received 43,564. Oman (25,460), Qatar (13,188), Bahrain (6,555), Saudi Arabia (4,011) also attracted workers.