The global slowdown has impacted employment opportunities in various parts of the world with many destinations, which were top of the mind, not providing too many jobs for Indian professionals any more. However, the good news is that the Indian government is playing a pro-active role in diversifying the migration of its skilled workers from some regions such as the Gulf to other emerging areas such as Continental Europe.
“We need to diversify our migration base, most of which is currently in the Gulf countries. We would like to see more skilled Indians to go Europe,” G Gurucharan, joint secretary in the ministry of overseas Indian affairs recently said.
The ministry is taking various steps to facilitate such movement including signing a labour mobility partnership agreement with Denmark, which was done earlier this year. The MoU, the first of its kind signed with any European nation, facilitates legal migration of workers from India to meet the growing demand for skilled and trained workers in the Danish economy.
Denmark has started a ‘Work in Denmark’ centre in New Delhi to promote job opportunities for Indians.
Various other European nations too, which are facing changing demographics and an ageing population, are looking at the skilled and young Indian workforce for their needs.
The Blue Card scheme, which is in the pipeline, will open up attractive employment opportunities across various EU countries for highly-skilled Indian professionals. The EU Council has adopted the Blue Card directive in May 2009, which will establish more attractive conditions for third-country workers to take up highly qualified employment in the EU, by creating a fast-track procedure for issuing a special residence and work permit. The Blue Card will facilitate access to the EU labour market for highly qualified third-country workers to the EU, with the ultimate goal of creating a competitive knowledge economy.
And despite the crisis in Dubai, the Gulf region too has job opportunities left for Indian workers. “While some of the countries in that region have seen lower numbers in terms of employment opportunities, others such as Saudi Arabia are actually providing more employment for Indian workers. In fact, even in the United Arab Emirates, while jobs in Dubai have shrunk, more jobs have been created in the other Emirates than before,” K Mohandas, secretary, MOIA, said.
There are around 2 million Indians employed in the UAE and another 2 million in Saudi Arabia. Another country in the Gulf region, which is emerging as a destination for Indian professionals, is Libya.
“Last year there were 6000 Indian professionals - both skilled and unskilled - who went to Libya with jobs. There are various emerging employment opportunities here and Indians are very comfortable working in this country. This year, we expect the number of Indians coming to Libya to increase further,” said Ms M Manimekalai, high commissioner of India to Malta.
Again if Europe and America are proving a problem, skilled Indians can now discover a new continent in Africa. Indians with special skills, students and entrepreneurs can now look to South Africa as an immigration destination. The South African government is geared up towards attracting more skilled people from India to fill up gaps in the local job market of highly skilled individuals.