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Jun 13, 2020
Reverse migration during covid 19 times. This is a brief note to keep Companies in the Middle East updated on the current Covid-19 situation as related to repatriation and migration of Indian workers.
There are a large number of employees who are returning (consensus figure is between 600,000 - 800,000) and want to return from the Middle East to India*. This report covers some insights into the current and expected situation and also the scenario of job losses in the Gulf and India
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returning during COVID
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This is a brief note to keep our Clients updated on the current Covid-19 situation as related to
repatriation and migration of Indian workers and employees who want to return from the Middle East
to India. We look forward to staying in touch during these difficult times - all of us on a personal and
Company level face unprecedented challenges and we need to stand in solidarity. We request you to
please share with us any actionable insights / information that could help.
Indians who want to return from the Middle East to India
The consensus figure of Indians who want to return from the Middle East to India is between 600,000
- 800,000. Anecdotally - NORKA has registered 300,000 workers who are interested to return in 48 hours
from time of announcement (this is only for Kerala).
Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) seem to have the largest issue in terms of repatriation of Indian
workers. As they have the largest numbers of workers the volume of Indian workers who want to return
from there also seems largest in these countries.
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Segmentation of Workers who are looking to return back to India
Using quick surveys, information sourced from Embassies and anecdotal information from candidates –
the candidates wanting to return back to India can broadly be divided into the below segments based on
their different motivations or situations.
People are working and getting their wages and companies want them to stay
Not enough work / reduced wages - but work is available on less attractive terms. This is
primarily the case for Oil & Gas projects, Aviation and Banking industries
No work and waiting to come back - but getting food / accommodation. This is primarily the
case with Hospitality and Construction industries
Distress - No work. Food / Accommodation not being given. This is primarily the case for
workers in Unorganized Retail, Agriculture, Facilities, Visit visa and Illegal (overstayed)
50 + Workers above 50 years are at higher risk and Companies are asking them to return
Amnesty / Workers who have gone illegally and stayed back
Candidates who have travelled on visit visas to search for jobs and visas are about to expire
or have expired
Visas have expired after end of shutdown or end of their contract period
Family emergency and worker wanting to return irrespective of above situation
People stuck in camps who have been mobilized after February 2020 onwards - they may
not have done their medicals, or have visas stamped
Workers waiting for their exit stamps on visas in country like KSA needed
There is a herd mentality setting in and people in stable situations may also want to return
Some segments like healthcare are OK and workers are not expected to return
Domestic workers are still in demand and are not expected to return in large numbers
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Estimate of Job Losses by Industry
The Figure below shows the breakdown of potential job losses across sectors in the UAE. This is based
on losses by sector in other countries and is sourced from a Oxford Economics report
GCC Population De-Growth
Most Clients of Ambe International expect a long period of hiatus in projects and employment pickup up
the sectors of Tourism, Construction and Retail. However some Clients expect a resurgence in projects
related to Oil & Gas between October - December 2020.
Although some of the displaced workers will find new jobs in this resurgence and will come back to the
Middle East for employment - so that new expat workers will arrive - there is likely to be significant
reductions in populations across the GCC. This will have impacts on local economic activity and asset
deflation (real-estate, banking, retail etc)
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Rehabilitation of Workers in India
Indian Citizens coming back from the Middle East to India will find that the job situation in India is far
worse than in the Middle East and the recovery period will be long extending to the end of the year.
This report is based on publicly available data, and feedback from Recruitment Companies and Associations, Candidates and Companies based
in the Middle East. The data has been compiled in part based on anecdotal information and conversations. It is very difficult to verify this
information scientifically at this point but would probably serve as the best signals of trends that we expect to see. Report dated 2nd May 2020
For further information/any queries contact:
AMAL SAXENA, DIRECTOR, AMBE INTERNATIONAL
Mobile: + 91 9870245398