For the past half century the Persian Gulf meaning the Arab countries have been a source of employment for Indians, especially for Indians from the south of country. For a year I too was one of these immigrants earning a good salary, which I didn’t get in India. I was able to pay a mortage on my house with this income, but I did find the working conditions there – in the Persian Gulf – not to my liking. I worked seven days a week, 12 hours a day, almost 84 hours a week. It exhausted me, and I remember becoming home sick and returning to India.
However, of late, this dream of working in the Persian Gulf has been losing its charm. Estimates find that in 2011 only 2.28 million workers went to the region for employment. The rate of growth has also dipped from 7.1 per cent in 2003 to only 1.4 per cent in 2011. The reason for this is not hard to seek. India, with outsourcing centres and call centres is becoming an attractive job destination. Those who had to bribe their way to the Persian Gulf can now easily find a job in India itself. Moreover, they can live with their families and are entitled to much more benefits and perquisites in their home country.
So who are the ones working in the Persian Gulf now? Actually, with the collapse of the financial markets, Dubai, a prime destination for job-seekers is now in a big recession with scarcely any jobs being available. Saudi Arabia is still a good place to earn a living, however, salaries have been slashed. This has made the Philippinos, Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis as the main players in the job markets there. The Indian presence has diminished over time and who knows in future India may be a big destination for foreign jobs.