More Indians are expected to move to the UAE and Gulf region in the coming years, a senior diplomat has said.
The region has become more attractive for Indians after several agreements were signed with various GCC countries, said Sanjay Bhattacharyya, secretary in charge of the Gulf, overseas Indians, and consular affairs in the country's Ministry of External Affairs.
Speaking on Wednesday at LEADS 2021, a two-day global thought leadership platform held in New Delhi to reimagine business, the Indian diplomat said the UAE has become a model of "transparency” as it fully clarifies employment clauses to potential candidates.
“The integration of online migration platforms, which began with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, has been extended to other GCC countries,” he said.
“Skill mapping and skill matching can be captured on such migration platforms to leverage advantages for our workers in a changing environment."
In 2018, the UAE and India signed an MoU to integrate their labour-related e-platforms to end the existing malpractices, combating trafficking and organising programmes for education and awareness of contractual workers.
Mr Bhattacharyya said there was strong demand for candidates in health, logistics, information technology, and new industries in the Gulf.
“High-tech and data services have seen a boom,” he said.
The Indian community of about 3.4 million people is the largest in the UAE but was hit when businesses shut down in March 2020 during stay-home restrictions.
About 1.3 million Indians left the Emirates between May 2020 and the beginning of January 2021, but more than 1.15 million returned, V Muraleedharan, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs said earlier this year.
The figures were based on flight data at that time, Mr Muraleedharan said.
The latest S&P Global Ratings showed that the Gulf population fell by four per cent in 2020, because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lower oil prices.
The report said the decline in population across the Gulf region will continue until 2023, relative to each country's population, "because of subdued non-oil sector growth and workforce nationalisation policies".
In the UAE, S&P said in 2020 the population declined by 6.5 per cent overall, and by 8.4 per cent in Dubai.
Both are predicted to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023 at the latest, with expected growth levels of 2.3 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.