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Mon 30 Nov 2009 07:22 AM

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No Indian worker exodus amid Dubai debts - official

Minister for overseas affairs sees no need to panic, not expecting further job cuts.

Dubai's debt problems will not lead to an exodus of Indian expats forced by a new glut of job losses, a senior Indian official has said.

There was no cause for worry over potential job losses among Indians employed in the Gulf as a result of the problems facing Dubai World, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi told the Indo-Asian News Agency.

"There is no need to panic," the minister said, adding: "I have feedback from our consulate general in Dubai and our embassies there. We are not expecting any kind of exodus of Indian workers to India."

He said that while there had been some impact in the GCC region at the beginning of the global downturn last year, the situation had stabilised.

"I even announced this in parliament. About 100,000 Indian workers had returned from Dubai at that time. But many of them have gone back now," the minister told IANS. "India won't be affected by Dubai's debts."

According to latest studies, the largest expat group in the UAE was Indians, with 1.75 million currently residing in the country. Throughout the Gulf region, an estimated five million Indians work.

The second largest group was from Pakistan, with about 1.25 million while roughly 500,000 Bangladeshis live in the UAE.

State-run Dubai World announced last week that it would need to restructure its debt, estimated at $59 billion. It has asked for a six-month standstill agreement with creditors.

There have been some concerns in India among the families of expatriate Indians working in the Gulf since the region accounts for nearly half of the country's inward remittances worth $25 million annually.

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Ali 10 years ago

This is high time for Indian govt to check with UAE to find out how many Indians are serving jail terms because of Economic reasons(debt) and some kind of amnesty to be declared. There are few thousands of educated people inside jail because of debt which mounted during recession as they lost their JOBS

Dan 10 years ago

I think as much as 50% of the Asians population remaining in UAE have no jobs and/or don’t have the necessary papers. That is probably the same for entire GCC region. There are obviously much fewer white-collar jobs compared to before the crises. For every white-collar job there are many blue-collar jobs to support it. By that calculation 50% of the Asian workforce should be out of jobs and paper by mid 2009. It may be an easy task to ship out hundreds of thousands of construction workers once the projects got finished or canceled. It’s entirely a different task to ship back hundreds of thousands of unwilling people who have no skills and no future to look forward to back home.