Migration has played a significant role in Kerala economy. Migratory tendencies have been inherent in the context of Kerala, and it has been shaping the economic and social dimensions of the State. The economic boom within the Gulf countries gave migration a considerable boost, reaching its peak in terms of both numbers and remittances. Ironically, Kerala, of late, is witnessing a reverse migration of labour.
Migration in Kerala Context
As predicted in 2013, the Kerala Migration Survey is showing a decline in emigration. The total number of emigrants in 2013 was 24 lakh and it reduced to 21 lakh in the year 2018. This recorded a decrease of around 12 per cent from 2013 to 2018. According to Kerala migration surveys, about 90 per cent of Kerala migrants leave for the Gulf for temporary contract employment and the Gulf does not provide citizenship and all of them have to return back to Kerala once their contract expires. The number of return emigrants estimated by KMS 2018 is 12.95 lakh, about 60 per cent of the number of emigrants. KMS 2018 has confirmed the trend that was observed in the last round – that emigration from Kerala is falling and return migration is on the rise. The long history of migration from Kerala to the Gulf is in its last phase. However, remittances to the State have increased. This is due to the fact that Keralites in the gulf have climbed the social ladder and are earning higher wages, allowing them to remit more.
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Source : Economic Review 2019