Tamil workers prefer S'pore

A recent pilot survey on international migration from Tamil Nadu showed Singapore, and not the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as the best preferred overseas location.

Professor Irudaya Rajan of the Centre of Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, along with Loyola Institute of Social Science Training and Research, Chennai, and Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Sriperumbudur, did the survey. It covered about 10,000 households across 17 districts in the state.

The survey says one in every 20 households in Tamil Nadu has an emigrant.

Almost 44 per cent of them have passed Class 10, while 75 per cent are from the low- and middle-income groups. An average emigrant had to spend Rs95,809 (S$2000) to leave the country, at least Rs30,000 more than what his Kerala counterpart spends.

The pilot survey shows that the maximum number of emigrants from the state head to Singapore (21.4 per cent), proving wrong the perception of UAE being the preferred location.

Prof Rajan told The Indian Express newspaper: "How many direct flights are there from Chennai to Singapore currently? If the majority of the people going there are from the coastal districts, then maybe Tamil Nadu might need another airport located nearby to facilitate them. Cheaper airfare via tie-ups with airlines could also be worked out."

The report noted that from the total remittance to India of US$70 billion (S$93 billion), Tamil Nadu received Rs59,660 crores while it was Rs74,803 crores for Kerala

Get a copy of tabla! for more stories.