The Dichotomy of the Skilled and Unskilled Among Non-resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin: Bane or Boon for Development in India?

  • Binod Khadria
Part of the Dynamics of Asian Development book series (DAD)


The public perception of highly educated and skilled knowledge workers supposedly ‘deserting’ India seems to have undergone a radical transformation in the twenty-first century. Indifference towards large-scale labour migration to the Gulf region has also waned. Professional skilled Indian emigrants are now seen as agents of development, offering a perfected image of transnational ‘global Indian citizens’, capable not only of bringing investment and technology to India but also of returning themselves to the country in a circulatory mode of migration. On the other hand, the large numbers of low-, semi- and un-skilled labour migrants to the Gulf are also optimistically viewed as India’s main source of remittances. However, notwithstanding this positive commonality, the two groups have remained clearly different and separate from each other. A new international context now poses a ‘double challenge’ for public policy in India as a sending country: firstly, in terms of redefining the national development strategy with a two-way transnational participation that includes both the skilled and the unskilled diasporas; and secondly, with regard to inventing and convincing the two different sub-diasporas of the strategic importance that inter-diasporic complementarities and cooperation have for the development of India. A number of dichotomies underlie the differences between skilled and unskilled migration, and the predictions are that these differences will crystallise over the course of the twenty-first century.


Destination Country Return Migration Indian Worker Gulf Cooperation Council Gulf Region 
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Copyright information

© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social SciencesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia

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