‘Most people who migrate do not return as they settle permanently outside Kerala.’

Between 74 and 78 per cent of the youth aged between 20 and 32 in the Syro-Malabar Church are migrants, who have sought jobs outside Kerala and settled in their places of work, says a survey conducted by the Laity Commission of the Syro-Malabar Church.

A note prepared by the secretary of the Laity Commission, V.C. Sebastian, issued on Saturday, takes a look at the pattern of migration of young people in the Syro-Malabar Church to different parts of the world. It says the large-scale migration of youth from the community took place for various reasons, including marital alliances.

The survey was conducted among 330 homes, drawn from 11 family units in 11 parishes of eight Syro-Malabar dioceses. A total of 695 children in these families (average of 2.1 per family) formed the survey sample.

Among them, 300 are below the age of 20 and most of them are studying in schools and colleges within the State. There are 165 of them, aged between 20 and 32. Forty-three of them or 26.1 per cent are working in Kerala. There are 122 or 73.9 per cent, who are either studying or working in other States or outside the country.

Among the surveyed are 226, who are above the age of 32. Of them, 117 or 51.7 per cent work within Kerala; 109 of them or 48.23 per cent have been working over a long period of time outside Kerala and have virtually settled in their places of work.

Among those who migrated are an aspirant to priesthood and three priests.

The survey notes that most of those who migrate do not return as they settle permanently outside Kerala. Even those who return often display their keenness to migrate to a foreign country for permanent settlement.

At the same time, it has been noted that the large-scale migration has affected the families of the migrants though they could be discouraged from venturing out of the State in the face of poor job opportunities at home.

Outlining a brief history of migrations from the Syro-Malabar community, it says there were small-scale migrations from the community to different parts of India in the 1940s. A large number of young people left the shores of Kerala, seeking jobs in places such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, and Gujarat in the 1950 and 60s. They were mostly engaged as clerks or factory workers especially in places such as Ahmedabad, Baroda, Bhopal, Aurangabad, Indore and Nagpur.

The period between 1960 and 1975 saw a boom in nursing students migrating to other parts of the country, helped largely by Catholic priests and nuns, who were present in those parts. Between 1975 and 1990, the flow of nurses out of Kerala acquired great speed as government jobs opened up in different States. Most of them also settled permanently in their places of work.

However, since 1990, the migrants have remained largely floating populations in their places of work. Though many youths reach metro cities for jobs, they look at them as places of temporary stay and look for better opportunities outside India.

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