Stricter visa rules clog migration from India, overseas jobs market shrinks for Indian workforce

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New Delhi | Published: September 19, 2018 6:31:08 PM

The EY report predicts a decline from the current 86% to 60% in the number of US H-1B visas issued for Indian workers in the IT sector.

visa, migration from India, Ernst & Young, EY, Future of Jobs 2018 report, US H-1B visas, Kiwi FirstThe EY report predicts a decline from the current 86% to 60% in the number of US H-1B visas issued for Indian workers in the IT sector.

Migration of Indians to foreign lands for jobs is expected to decline sharply over the next few years. Ernst & Young’s Future of Jobs 2018 report predicts 25%-30% decline in the migration of Indian workers to traditional overseas markets. Meanwhile, new markets are expected to open up for Indian labour as well.

Change in visa rules across major Western economies has hit Indian workforce. The EY report predicts a decline from the current 86% to 60% in the number of US H-1B visas issued for Indian workers in the IT sector.

One of the major factors contributing to the high-demand of Indian workers in the US was their availability at lesser pay packages, but the proposal to hike the minimum salaries in the US postings from $60,000 to $100,000 will make employing Indian workers uneconomical.

Australia has tightened its visa rules scrapping 457 visa programs and New Zealand will now follow the ‘Kiwi First’ policy. Of the 457 categories of visas for foreign skilled workers scrapped in Australia, Indians accounted for nearly a third of the workforce.

60% of visa recipients for foreign skilled workers in the UK were Indians during the period January-November 2016. But post-Brexit, the country has also tightened its entry rules. It has raised the salary thresholds for employing outsiders. Indian students who used to exceed their stay in the UK through jobs will now find it difficult to get jobs and study simultaneously.

In 2016, the number of Indians heading for jobs in the Middle East dipped by 33% compared to the year earlier. Saudi Arabia alone witnessed a steep decline of 50% in jobs last year. According to World Bank estimates, remittances also saw an 8.9% drop in 2016 which dropped for the second consecutive year.

The drop in demand for Indian workforce in the Middle East could be attributed to various factors including ‘Saudization and Emiratization’ which is actually the pro-local worker policies in countries such as Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Depressed oil prices have forced a slowdown in infrastructure and industrial projects leading to drop in demand of Indian workforce.

This sudden shrinking in the overseas job market will result in surplus labour for jobs within the domestic market. The wages are expected to drop. Drop in remittances to India will hit the purchasing power in the domestic market especially in states such as Kerala, UP, Bihar and Punjab.

It is not all so gloomy though. New job markets and avenues could open in ageing economies of Europe and Japan giving Indian workforce new horizons to explore.

Anurag Malik, Partner HR Advisory & Skill Development at EY said that while it is getting tougher to get jobs in some skill sets, avenues in other job profiles are opening as well. Oppurtunities for new jobs like Data Scientists and Data Analytics are increasing and job-seekers can now look at the demand-supply gap in these non-traditional profiles to avail new offers and oppurtunities.

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