According to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, more than 80,000 people have returned to India as of June 13 and over 20,000 people have flown out on Vande Bharat flights since May 6. While regular figures are not available, the Ministry of External Affairs said on June 7 that of the total number of repatriated citizens, 17,485 are migrant workers, 11,511 students, and 8,633 professionals.
The government is prioritising those who are of a more advanced age, as compared to younger citizens, sources say. “Our assessment shows that of the people who reported to be currently unemployed, the majority need to find a job within a week,” said a person in the know.
The highest share of migrants who returned belong to the construction sector at more than 15 per cent. The rapidly worsening economic state of Indian laborers in the Gulf’s vast construction industry — many of whom have lost their jobs recently — led many to prepare for a hasty return. However, based on job roles, accountants, drivers, and electricians have opted the most for the initiative, followed by draughtsmen and welders.
The NSDC data shows that 47 per cent of registered returnees have a graduate degree while 36 per cent have studied up till the 13th standard. On the other hand, about 47 per cent have worked for more than 10 years abroad and 27 per cent have worked for 5-10 years, indicating established companies suddenly going under as economic uncertainties worsen.
To prune the list of millions who want to return home soon from across the world, the government has adopted strict criteria to distinguish those are the most ‘distressed’.
Indians who have faced sudden loss of employment, end of contractual employment, expiry of visa or have been declared as illegals, have the best chances of making the list as of now. India’s embassies are in touch with the local diaspora and tentative lists are being prepared based on this method, sources confirmed.