UAE sees Indian workforce shrink as home salaries rise

UAE consulate sees fall in visa numbers as India boom keeps workers at home

India's construction boom has decreased the labour pool for the Gulf states

India's construction boom has decreased the labour pool for the Gulf states

The Indian Consulate in the UAE saw a fall in new visas for Indian nationals last year for the first time, as rising salaries in the Asian state kept workers at home.

The Gulf state is likely to see a steady decline in blue-collar migrants as India’s economic growth offers better opportunities to workers, the Consul General told Arabian Business.

“Last year, for the first time ever, the Indian Consulate served less passports than in 2009 so that would be an indication that the number of Indians declined coming to the UAE,” Sanjay Verma said on the sidelines of the 5th Arabian Business Forum. “Passport services saw a two percent drop.

“The numbers are declining because of the demand for labour in India. The civil construction sector has a shortage of civil engineers and skilled workers, plumbing and carpentry.”

[Click here for pictures from the forum]

The Asian state has rolled out a National Rural Employment Guarantee Act which offers 100 days of work a year to rural households, giving employment to workers in villages who traditionally have looked abroad for jobs.

“The advantage of that is it is offered it to you in your home town or village so that has taken away some workers who otherwise would have come abroad,” Verma said.

The Gulf plays host to millions of migrants, primarily from Asia, who account for the majority of blue-collar workers in the construction, domestic work, and service industries.

An estimated three million migrate each year, sending back an estimated $175bn in remittances annually, according to Human Rights Watch data.

The UAE alone is home to an estimated 1.75 million Indian expatriates, the largest group of foreign workers in the Gulf country. But experts have warned the country may struggle to attract and retain migrants if it fails to keep pace with rising salaries in India.

Minimum wages for unskilled foreign workers in the UAE are as low as AED600 a month, with skilled workers receiving AED1,200 a month, according to the Indian Embassy, Abu Dhabi.

By comparison, wages in India, the world’s fastest-growing economy after China, surged by 11.1 percent last year, said recruitment firm GulfTalent in February.

The Indian Ambassador to the UAE said earlier this year the government planned to enforce a minimum wage for Indian nationals hoping to work in the UAE.

If approved, the ruling will mean workers only receive immigration clearance from India if their employment contract meets with a set minimum salary.

Verma said the professional sectors were likely to feel the pinch first as India strives to hold on to homegrown talent and keep pace with its fast-growing economy.  

“It will be more expensive getting Indian workers. It’s already happening in the professional sector, it’s not as easy as it used to be to attract Indian doctors or accountants to come here.”

In 2011, the number of new visas issued by the consulate will be flat, he added.

“I think it’s going to be closer to 2010, probably the same as 2010 but not a drastic increase.”

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Posted by: SAS

It?s not being suggested that the picture in India is very rosy and that all Indians will get employed soon. Indians will keep going abroad for employment but now there are jobs opportunities available to Indians at all levels within India at the same salary package offered to the in the Gulf. So GCC countries will have to pay higher salaries and incentives if it they want to hire Indians.

Posted by: AKW

The main problem of low wages for Indians in gulf is because in each categorey of job there are number of Indians offering themsleves cheaper than other Indian.

This gives a chance to the empolyer as well, he starts exploiting them, firstly by offering low package to Indian employees than the other nationalities (Not to mention since everybody knows) and then within the Indian candidates they choose the most suitable at most economical price.

Also, a lot of Indian manpower recruiting agencies cheat their own countrymen by giving them fake promises of good job and good salaries eventually landing them into troubles.

I believe that everyone in India should be made aware about the world outside India through TV & other medias in local languages so that the common man should know the reality. A common man in India gets lured with the beautiful locations shown in our movies and he starts imagining that the real world is same as shown there.

Truth is stranger than fiction!

Posted by: Salim facts finder

may be this is better for all,and if the situation in undia very rosy as the article suggest ,why those white collar worker keeps coming to their dream land Dubai?rosy economy should create demand not only for blue collar worker but for all catagory,i dont agree with the article india has very very long way to reach the rosy stage with apopulation over one billion and have,and the percentage of those above poverty line less than 12 percent its hard to believe all this spuclative finding.

Posted by: skm

"Percentage of those above poverty lines less than 12 % "; which world are you from. Are you not accessible to the news, media and or ther informations for the last fifty years atleast.

Posted by: Sunil

There have been such talks for the last couple of years but there was no official information and Data to confirm this. I proud to see that this is happening. It is important that there are more schemes for the Rural development. It is the people from the villages who bear the brunt and are exploited. Therefore the Indian Governement should provide this information to the blue collared workers who come to Dubai with a dream of making money.

Posted by: SAS

It?s about time people in the GCC realized the value of Indian workforce. Till now Indians were looked down upon and considered people who invaded the countries and were changing the demographics. Companies/private homes have reaped huge profits and comfort at the expense of the low paid Indian workers. Be it a blue collar or white collar Indian worker or a domestic help or a driver everything gets done very cheaply without any complain because Indians just don?t know how to say no when it comes to work.They are willing to work any hour of the day or night without thinking how what they will be paid.

Sure it?s not impossible to find and replace them by another set of skilled/unskilled workforce. But it will not be the same.

It will be very difficult to convince the next generation of Indians to come and work in the Gulf at such low wages and difficult living conditions for the labouers. One doesn't releazed what they have until its gone.

Now it is time for Pakistanis and Bangladesh

Posted by: SAS

Now its time for Pakistanis and Bangladeshis to follow the exmaple of India and improve the economies.

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