Student migration from Kerala nearly doubled to 2.5 lakh in five years

The KMS 2023 put the total number of emigrants from Kerala at 2.2 million. This was 2.1 million in the KMS 2018.
Night view of Cochin International Airport.
Night view of Cochin International Airport.(File Photo | TP Sooraj)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Student migration from Kerala has nearly doubled in five years, from 1.29 lakh in 2018 to 2.50 lakh in 2023, showed the Kerala Migration Survey (KMS) 2023 released by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

The KMS 2023 put the total number of emigrants from Kerala at 2.2 million. This was 2.1 million in the KMS 2018. Nine districts witnessed a considerable decline in the number of people moving aborad compared to 2018, indicating that international migration has reached saturation.

A further decline was reversed by the significant rise in student migration. The number of student migrants rose from 1,29,763 in 2018 to about 2,50,000 in 2023. Underlining a significant shift in emigration demographics, the report said there was an increase in the number of people leaving at a very young age, as early as 17 years. Students constituted 11.3% of total emigrants, indicating that a growing number of younger individuals are choosing to migrate, particularly for educational opportunities, the survey said.

Rs 2.16L crore inward remittances recorded in 2023, shows survey

According to KMS 2023, inward remittances to the state came in at Rs 2,16,893 crores in 2023, a 154.9% increase from Rs 85,092 crores in 2018. Average annual remittance per emigrant household rose to Rs 2,23,729 from Rs 96,185. In 2023, Kollam surpassed Malappuram in terms of household remittances. It received 17.8% of the share compared with Malappuram’s 16.2%. For the first time, the KMS 2023 estimated an outward remittance of Rs 43,378 crore which is about 20% of the inward remittance.

The number of student migrants rose from 1,29,763 in 2018 to about 2,50,000 in 2023.
The number of student migrants rose from 1,29,763 in 2018 to about 2,50,000 in 2023.Photo | Express

Two out of five households in the state had non-resident Keralites, the report said.

The global Malayali diaspora is estimated to be 5 million strong. Nearly 3,77,647 emigrants were from Malappuram. State wide, Muslims accounted for 41.9% of emigrants, followed by the Hindus (35.2%) and Christians (22.3%).

Much of the emigration was to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with UAE the preferred destination. Still, the number of those moving to GCC countries dipped from 89.2% in 2018 to 80.5% in 2023. A significant rise was recorded in emigration to non-GCC countries, from 10.8% in 2018 to 19.5%. This was attributed to the student migrants’ preference for non-GCC countries.

The proportion of female expatriates increased from 15.8% in 2018 to 19.1% in 2023. Female migration has further seen a shift from GCC countries to Europe and other Western nations as destination countries, accounting for 40.5%.

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