Over eight lakh non-resident Keralities have returned to their home state from the Gulf, amidst the ongoing pandemic. Alarmingly, over five lakh of them have returned because they have lost their jobs.
Data shared by the Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) department also reveals that many Keralites — over 13 lakh— from different parts of India have also returned to their home state, of which over one lakh have done so because of job loss.
Of course many of those who have returned are elderlies or senior citizens and family members of the expatriates, whose job visas have expired.
From within India, the maximum number of Malayalees from Tamil Nadu have returned to Kerala (3.12 lakh), followed by Karnataka (3.11lakh) and Maharashtra (1.37 lakh).
In total, over 21 lakh Malayaless have been forced to return home to Kerala, from overseas and from within India. The resident population of Kerala is already over three crore.
Kerala is the Indian state with the highest NRI deposits amounting to about Rs 93,000 crore in 2019. The Kerala government was expecting this figure to go beyond Rs 1,00,000 crore in 2019, which did not happen due to the unprecedented pandemic.
However, fortunately, many expats are now either going back to their previous jobs or are taking up new jobs in new countries. Ernakulam saw the highest number of returnees at over two lakhs, followed by Thiruvananthapuram with about 1.6 lakh and Malappuram with over 1.4 lakhs. Kasargod and Wayanad saw the least number of returnees, with only over 32, 000 and 34,000 respectively.