Chennai: With an improved job scenario and better payments in India, the number of workers from South India leaving for employment to the Gulf has seen a rapid decline in the last five years, according to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.
From 2008, when 88,389 workers qualified below matriculation left for the Gulf, the figure fell sharply to 21,129 in 2012, a Ministry report said.
The major decline was in 2009, when only 43,174 persons went abroad,which further went down to 15,571 in 2010, it said.
Though there was an increase in 2011 with 24,585, the following year it slipped to 21,129 persons.
Seven months into this year, the number stood at 10,317 persons.
Explaining the decline in numbers, Protector of Emigrants (PoE) D Jai Sankar told PTI, "The decline in number means that the job scenario here for them is improving and they are satisfied with payments here. This could also mean people are not ready to go abroad for lesser pay and could land in a job of their choice here."
Asked whether one of the reasons could be the move of some Gulf countries' to send home persons overstaying there without valid documents, he said it could be a possibility. "But these figures are not just this year's figures,but of the last five years'.
During this period, United Arab Emirates topped the list of the country where the maximum number of persons sought employment with 56,220, followed by Kuwait and Malaysia with 52,739 and 43,564, the report said.
Oman (25,460), Qatar (13,188), Bahrain (6,555), Saudi Arabia (4,011) also continued to attract workers from India, it said.