According to the e-Migrate system, 53,332 workers came to Oman in 2017, while only 32,316 arrived till November 30, 2018. Similarly, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain registered a drop in the number of Indian workers looking for opportunities. In the GCC states, Qatar registered an increase in the number of Indian workers owing to opportunities arising due to the 2022 World Cup construction work. Singh cited several reasons for the drop in the number of emigration clearance through the e-Migrate system. “Prominent among them is that the Gulf countries are passing through a period of economic slowdown primarily because of the slump in oil prices. Coupled with this, the Gulf countries are aiming at filling up maximum posts both in the public and private sectors with their own nationals,” Singh said.
“Therefore, there has been a shortage in demand for foreign workers in these countries. Moreover, a large number of Indian nationals holding ECR passports reportedly travel to the Gulf countries on tourist visa and get their visas converted to employment visa, thereby bypassing the e-Migrate system. These numbers as well as the number of non-ECR passport holders going to the ECR countries for employment are not reflected in the e-Migrate emigration clearance data.”