Labour market trends analysis and labour migration from South Asia to Gulf Cooperation Council countries, India and Malaysia

This report examines key labour market trends in six major destination countries for low-skilled migrant workers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Despite the substantial benefits generated by the South Asia–GCC migration flow, many challenges remain to ensure a fairer distribution of the profits. Much has been written on the abuses of migrant workers during recruitment and employment throughout the migration cycle, but less is known about labour demand, its relationship to skills and the impact of the recruitment process on these aspects.

Lack of information regarding qualifications, skills, wages and how demand will evolve inhibits informed decisions by public and private institutions as well as by migrant workers. This results in lost opportunities or mistakes with training investment in both source and recipient countries. Additionally, there is no system of mutual recognition of educational attainment and acquired skills based on comparable standards for low- and semi- skilled occupations.

This report addresses some of these issues with a special focus on the role of skills – including training, certification, accreditation, deployment practices and future labour demand – for both the countries of origin and destination. It is a summary of six studies, each related to a prominent destination country (India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) for migrants from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

This report is the result of a partnership between the ILO - through the EU funded South Asia Labour Migration Governance Project and the SDC funded Project to Promote Decent Work Through Improvement of Migration Policy in Bangladesh - and the GIZ Nepal.