7 Million Indians Are Currently Living in West Asia: Report

According to India Spend, more than 7 million Indians are currently living in West Asian countries.

Updated03 May 2018, 12:03 PM IST
2 min read

Every year thousands of Indians move to greener pastures in search of better jobs and employment opportunities.

According to a report by IndiaSpend, more than 7 million Indians are currently living in six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain – and other West Asian countries.

Indians are employed as nurses, engineers, semi-skilled workers such as craftsmen or artisans as well as unskilled labourers in construction sites, farmers, manning petrol pumps, shops, stores and as households maids and domestic workers.

While the money, lifestyle and good opportunities definitely lure people towards gaining employment in these countries, there are always two sides to the story.


Several countries in West Asia, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE, follow the ‘Kafla’ system, which employs a majority of the low wage and unskilled labourers.

According to a report in The Diplomat, this system enables the employer an unimaginable amount of control over the migrant worker. An employee under the Kafla system is bound by three major restrictions:

  • They cannot gain employment elsewhere without the consent of the employer
  • They cannot quit a job without the consent of the employer
  • They cannot leave the country without the permission of the employer.

In case the migrant workers flouts any of these rules, they are bound to face serious consequences.

7 Million Indians Are Currently Living in West Asia: Report
(Infographic: The Quint/Harsh Sahani)

Wikipedia states that Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani workers make up 90 percent of the workforce. Additionally, the typical wage rate paid to migrant Indian workers is AED 1,100, which equals Rs 19,965 per month.

Migration & Settlement

According to the Middle East Institute, it is next to impossible for most non-ethnic Arab migrants to become citizens. However, one can continue to live on work permits granted by their employers, thereby contributing to their economy.

Dos & Dont’s

Here’s a list of dos and don’ts for migrants living in West Asian countries as reported by Khaleej Times. These include:


  • Familiarise yourself with local laws.
  • Must obtain a valid work permit from the UAE Ministry of Labour before taking up any form of employment in the UAE.


  • Do not smoke in public buildings as it is illegal.
  • No begging, it is strictly prohibited.
  • Do not be unpleasant with regard to Islam or the ruling family.
  • Do not post photos on social media of local incidents, such as building fires and storm damage as it can be considered a crime.

(With inputs from IndiaSpend, Khaleej Times and Middle East Institute)

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Published: 03 May 2018, 11:01 AM IST

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