Migration monitoring study, 2008 : emigration and remittances in the context of surge in oil prices
Zachariah, K. C.
Rajan, S. Irudaya
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A decade ago, the Centre for Development Studies started migration research based on large-scale field surveys covering the whole of Kerala State as a one-time study. However, it soon developed itself as an ongoing project called Migration Monitoring Study, Kerala (MMS). This report gives the results of the latest of these studies (fourth in the series) carried out during August-December, 2008. It provides the latest hard data on emigration, return emigration and remittances to Kerala. This study, reminiscent of the preceding ones, has brought out some unexpected goings-on in the migration trend in Kerala. The first of these unexpected events is the large increase in emigration and return emigration since 2003. The common belief was that emigration from Kerala would decline as a result of the global recession in the Gulf countries and other principal destination countries of Kerala emigrants. Yet, the facts contradict that belief. The number of emigrants from Kerala has increased from 13.6 lakhs in 1998 to 18.4 lakhs in 2003 and to 21.9 lakhs in 2008. Simultaneously, the number of return emigrants has increased from 7.4 lakhs in 1998 to 8.9 lakhs in 2003 and to 11.6 lakhs in 2008. As a result, the number of non-resident Keralites has increased from 21.0 lakhs in 1998 to 27.3 lakhs in 2003 and to 33.5 lakhs in 2008. While external migration has increased, internal migration has declined. The number of out-migrants from Kerala has declined from 11.2 lakhs in 2003 to 9.14 lakhs in 2008. The number of return out migrants has declined from 9.9 lakhs in 2003 to 6.9 lakhs in 2008. The traditional tendency of Kerala youths to migrate to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Calcutta etc for employment is giving way to emigration to Dubai, Kuwait, and other cities across the globe.