Author(s): Kazi S
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Abstract PIP: This study examines trends in return labor migration from the Middle East to South Asia and Southeast Asia. Survey data were used to describe trends in outmigration and socioeconomic characteristics of return migrants and to examine the extent to which return migration is associated with skill level and use of savings and remittances on their return. General trends indicate a decline in outmigration during the late 1980s and early 1990s, after oil prices dropped in 1986. Migrants from Pakistan and Korea declined by half during 1981-85 and by 40\% among Indian migrants. The demand for service workers and migrants willing to accept cuts in wages was unaffected. Outmigration from Southeast Asian countries grew in the recent past. These increases were due to the replacement of workers from Jordan and Yemen who were expelled from Saudi Arabia after the Gulf crisis. The shift in occupational demand to service and higher level workers is expected to weaken migration from Pakistan and Bangladesh and to strengthen migration from Sri Lanka and other Southeast Asian countries with a skilled migrant labor force. Outmigration from Southeast Asian countries increased to high-growth destination countries such as Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore. Socioeconomic characteristics of migrants varied by country of origin. For instance, Philippine migrants were better educated. Migrants from Thailand, Bangladesh, and Pakistan were from rural and impoverished areas. Sri Lanka and the Philippines had many women migrants. Return migrants encountered high unemployment. Return migrants to Korea had fewer reemployment problems. Reemployment was associated with local country conditions. Unskilled workers had the highest rates of unemployment. Savings tended to be invested in real estate and housing. Savings and investment from remittance income was high in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Thailand.
This article was published in Pak Dev Rev
and referenced in International Journal of Economics & Management Sciences