Nearly 25 per cent Muslims from Mumbai head for West Asia in search of jobs.
The majority are manual labourers. According to Rehmatullah, chairman, All India Council for Muslim Economic Upliftment (AICMEU), the economic contribution of this workforce goes unrecognised because the remittances it sends is not re-invested into the economy.
“The labour class Muslims working in West Asia contribute greatly to our foreign exchange earnings but the money they send is not pumped back into the country's money market," Rehmatullah explained.
Rehmatullah says, "Their families are not educated enough to invest the money. A lot of it goes into the family’s consumption."
According to Overseas Indian, the official e-magazine of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, over nearly 63 per cent of remittances come from Saudi Arabia. Close to $415 billion was remitted by Indian expatriates between 1975 and 2002, according to official figures. And the figures are going up. Almost four to five lakh people go to the Gulf from Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain and Muscat every year.
Most of these remittances go to Kerala, followed by Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
People from Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar find jobs in the construction industry.