Kochi, Jan 7 (IANS) Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed Monday said the emigration from Kerala to the Middle East countries has come down significantly and the reasons behind it must be studied.
"These are disturbing trends and we have to take cognizance of this. Keralites led from the front and constituted as high as 80 percent of all emigration to the Middle East during the 1970s," said Ahamed at the Kerala session at the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas which got underway here.
"This figure has started to come down and of late it stands at 55 percent," he said.
"The Kerala government has to look beyond the industrial training institutes and polytechnics because the Middle East countries want skilled labour... This is a cause for concern, and there is need for the government of Kerala to look beyond the ITI-polytechnic formula to reverse this trend," said Ahamed.
He added that more number of people are going to the Middle East from other southern states and also from other states in the country.
"Unskilled workers from Kerala are now getting replaced by English-speaking people from the Philippines," said the minister.
He, however, pointed out that the biggest positive about Keralites is that the employers in the Middle-East consider them trustworthy.