The UAE has nearly 2.2 million Indians to emerge as the world’s largest base for overseas Indian workers of around 11.3 million, according to independent data.
Nearly 40 per cent of the Indian workers in the second largest Arab economy are from the south-Indian state of Kerala, which also has the largest benefits from remittances of Indians working abroad, showed the figures to be presented to a conference on foreign labour in the UAE, to be opened this week.
The figures, carried by Dubai-based Emarat Alyoum Arabic language daily, showed Saudi Arabia, the world’s dominant oil exporter, is second to UAE in attracting Indian workers, estimated at around 1.5 million.
The report gave no figures on other expatriates residing in the UAE but earlier estimates showed foreigners account for over 80 per cent of the country’s total population.
At the end of 2012, the UAE’s population was estimated at 8.2 million and this means Indians are a majority, accounting for nearly 26 per cent.
“The UAE accounts for around 20 per cent of the total overseas Indian workers of about 11.3 million based in nearly 130 countries…estimates put the number of Indians in the UAE at around 2.2 million,” the paper quoted the report as saying.
“Remittances by Indians in the UAE constitute a major source of foreign currency for India as they far exceed foreign investment and aid…they also largely contribute to improving the country’s balance of payments as India is considered the world’s largest recipient of remittances from overseas workers.”
The report showed the UAE is also the 10thlargest foreign investor in India while it is the Subcontinent’s top trading partner, with their two-way exchange peaking at more than $18 billion last year compared with only $180 million a year in early 1970s.