Number of Indians Migrating To Gulf Countries Drops By 21 Per Cent In 2018; Qatar Is The Only Exception

Blue-collar workers in the Gulf. (Brent Stirton via Getty Images)

Emigration clearances to the Gulf dropped by 21 per cent compared to 2017, standing at 2.95 lakh in the course of the 11-month period which ended on 30 November 2018, reports Times of India.

Compared to the peak of Indian workers’ outflow to the Gulf in 2014 at 7.76 lakh, the decline in 2018 is 62 per cent. These stats are taken from the e-Migrate emigration clearance data, that examines emigration clearance issued to workers holding ECR (emigration check required) passports.

Qatar is the only country in the Gulf region where the number of workers increased in 2018 when compared to 2017. Almost 32,500 workers were granted emigration clearances as compared to close to 25,000 in 2017, a rise of 31 per cent. A Mumbai-based labour recruiter says, “This could be because of increased labour requirement as the country prepares to host the football World Cup 2022.


Washington-based think-tank, Middle East Institute, says there are almost 6-7.50 lakh Indian migrant workers in Qatar, nearly double the number of native Qataris.

The decline, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), is due to several reasons like Gulf slowdown due to oil prices slumping as well as the Gulf countries filling up posts with their own nationals.

Also, a large number of Indians having ECR passports travel to Gulf countries on tourist visas and convert them to employment visas, thus entirely bypassing the e-Migrate system. These numbers thus are not shown e-migrate clearance data.

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