Recently, a report stated that currently around 8.7 million Indians live in West Asia.

More on the news 

  • The report was released after a devastating fire broke out at a residential building in Kuwait’s Mangaf killing 50 migrant workers. At least 46 of them were Indians.
  • The data in the report is for six Gulf countries Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These Indians are “employed mostly in blue-collar jobs.

Key highlight of the report

  • UAE is the largest hub of Indian migrant workers with around 3.4 million workers, followed by Saudi Arabia at 2.6 million, Kuwait at 1 million, Qatar at 750,000, and Oman at 700,000.
  • Interestingly, the report also details the age demographics of this migrant workforce. Young adults, ranging from 18-30 years old, comprise approximately 50 per cent-60 per cent of the workforce going to these countries.
  • It is closely followed by middle-aged workers from 31-45 years old, representing 30-40 per cent of the migrant workforce, and are generally preferred for skilled work requiring experience.
  • Among all industries, the construction industry is the dominant employer of Indian blue-collar workers in West Asia.

This demand is driven by ongoing infrastructure projects and mega-developments in the UAE, Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and Red Sea Project.

  • NEOM is the epicenter for all activities – the primary home for residents, as a vertical city with all the activities NEOM come from the Ancient Greek prefix neo – meaning ‘new’. The ‘M’ is the first from ‘Mustaqbal’, an Arabic word meaning ‘future’.
  • The Red Sea Project, is a planned tourism megaproject in the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia.

The different “collar” jobs 

The different collars used to describe jobs refer to a categorization system based on the type of work performed and the work environment.

  • White-collar jobs: Typically involve office work, intellectual tasks, and professional skills. Examples include doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, engineers, and managers.
  • Blue-collar jobs: Generally involve manual labor, skilled trades, and physical work environments. Examples include construction workers, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, factory workers, and welders.
  • Pink-collar jobs: Traditionally associated with female-dominated professions in the service industry, often stereotyped as low-paying. Examples include nurses, secretaries, receptionists, cashiers, and waitresses. (This term is less commonly used today due to gender bias.)
  • Green-collar jobs: Focus on environmental protection, sustainability, and renewable energy sectors. Examples include solar panel installers, wind turbine technicians, environmental scientists, conservationists, and park rangers.
  • Gold-collar jobs: Refer to highly skilled and specialized professions in high demand, often commanding significant salaries. Examples include surgeons, aerospace engineers, data scientists, investment bankers, and top executives.

Looking Beyond the Numbers:

  • While the report offers valuable statistics, it’s important to acknowledge the broader context surrounding Indian migrant workers in West Asia. 
  • This includes potential issues like harsh working conditions, limited rights, and separation from families. Furthermore, their contributions are significant, as their remittances provide crucial financial support for their families back home and their labor helps drive economic growth in the host countries.
  • Recognizing their contributions and addressing any challenges they face are crucial aspects to consider.

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