Unemployed workers in the Gulf, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, ready to go home en masse

HYDERABAD: A large portion of India's expatriate population working in the Gulf countries is likely to return home jobless in the coming months, as the coronavirus blockade has stalled several projects there.

Everyone from construction workers to drivers to others will be forced to return to India, say organizations that have been working with expatriates.

Although it is difficult to establish an exact number of how many will return, sources said Telangana and Andhra Pradesh alone may have to deal with around three lakh of additional unemployed workers each, putting pressure on already stressed resources of the two states.

KV Shamsudheen, president of the Pravasi Bandhu welfare organization in Sharjah, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday saying that several projects had stalled. He wants the government to organize special flights to bring unemployed workers back to the country.

Shamsudheen wrote the letter at a time when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is seeking to reduce the quotas of countries that do not return to workers who want to return home amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

In the UAE, out of a population of 92 lakh, more than 78 lakh are expatriates from 15 countries. Indians with 3.4 million make up the largest segment of expatriates, he said.

Most companies advise staff to go on unpaid vacation

Many Indians who lost their jobs will find it very difficult to find a new one. It is better that they return to India instead of living without income in the Gulf. Those with jobs may still want to send their families back. ”

The Chairperson of the Emigrant Welfare Forum, Mandha Bheem Reddy, said: “About 85 Lakh Indians live in Gulf countries. About 26 lakh are from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (13 lakh each). About 25% of them can return home in the next six months. Most companies are recommending that their employees go on vacation without pay. More than 1,500 workers are expected to arrive daily at Hyderabad airport from all Gulf countries once flights resume. ”

Ramachandra Reddy, owner of an interior design company in Dubai, said: “I have 300 employees. All of our projects have stalled. I am cutting the size of the staff in half.