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Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Socio-Cultural Impact of Migration – A Study on Highly Skilled Expatriates from Kerala to Qatar.
Paper Proposal Text :
Migration is a global phenomenon which has socio-cultural and economic impact on both immigrants’ country of origin and destination. India remains the largest contributor of human resources to GCC states ranging from labourers to highly skilled professionals and business tycoons. Keralites have been the dominant sub group contributing to more than 50% of Indian diasporas of the Gulf States. Migration has become a way of life to the educated youth of Kerala; geographic proximity, tax free salary and high standard of living catalyses the exodus to the Gulf States. While contributing to poverty alleviation and maintaining the high social development index of their home state, this highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs have been influenced much by the socio-cultural and economic spheres of their host states. Studies conducted by K C Zachariah, E T Mathew and S Irudaya Rajan in 1999 and the series of Kerala Migration Surveys undertaken by Centre for Development Studies(CDS, Thiruvananthapuram), Kerala in 1998, 2008, 2011 and 2014 give an insight to the economic impact of migration from Kerala to the Gulf. This study is an attempt to gauge the socio–cultural impacts of highly skilled migration from Kerala to Qatar on the backdrop of their economic contribution to the country of origin and destination.

Scope of study:-

Even though a lot of studies have been done on different aspects of labour migration, little attention was given to the highly skilled migrants. Being one of the fastest growing economies with high share of expatriates in the world, Qatar has been an attractive destination for the technocrats, professionals and other highly skilled migrants from Kerala. Since the last quarter of the 20th century, this flow of fortune seekers has been increasing. Their presence is widely visible in the socio-economic arena of Qatar. Even the higher education sectors of Kerala and the Qatar are not free from strong influence of this phenomenon. This study is an attempt to shed light on the socio-cultural repercussions of the migration process addressing the following questions -
• How decades long expatriation has influenced the life, skills, saving-spending patterns, tradition & cultural identities of Kerala expatriate community living in Qatar?
• How it has influenced the socio-cultural and economic scenarios of Kerala?

Method of study:-

As Per Department of Non Keralites Affairs, Kerala State census-2013 (NORKA Pravasi Malayali Census-2013), 10380 highly skilled expatriates and 7257 Keralite business professionals are living in Qatar. The principal source of data for this study will be a sample survey conducted among 300 highly skilled migrants from Kerala including engineers/technocrats, medical professionals, lawyers, chartered accountants, journalists, managers, teachers/academicians working in public and private sectors and business professionals with an established business in Qatar.
Survey questionnaire will be intended to cover wider aspects of expatriate life- career prospects, socio-economic gain/contributions as well as the impact of expatriation in moulding the socio-cultural outlook of younger generation. Keralites’ perspective on higher education is also deeply influenced by the migration prospects. High demand for professional courses and an aversion for pure science, social science and humanities subjects among youngsters will be analysed in this context.
Being one of the largest expatriate communities living in Qatar, Kerala expatriates have enough socio-cultural organizations, activities and a vibrant social life in Qatar. But whether these organizations and activities reach the wider community; how far they have been successful in providing support, preserving cultural identity and accomplishing their social responsibility is a matter of concern. Personal interviews will be conducted among selected highly skilled professionals and entrepreneurs from Kerala active in the socio-cultural scenarios of Qatar to focus on these faces. Sample survey and interviews will be conducted among social scientists, academicians, Qatari nationals and Government officials having close links with the diasporas living in Qatar to study the reflections of expatriates’ life in the socio-cultural sphere of Qatar.
Impact on Kerala’s socio-cultural and economic sphere will be analysed through another sample survey/field work among non migrants, return migrants, dependants/household members of expatriates and other members active in the socio-cultural and political scenarios of Kerala. Reflection of expatriate life is visible in every single aspect of urban life in Kerala like food habits, saving-spending patterns, art and literature.
Apart from this, limited available literature and the secondary data available from research institutes like Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI)-Qatar, Centre for Development Studies(CDS)-Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and the Government departments like Ministry of Labour-Qatar, Economics and Statistics Department and NORKA- Government of Kerala, will provide the framework for this study.