Kerala Return Migrant Survey 2021: The Case of COVID-19 Return Migrants

Date and Time


019 MacKinnon Building, University of Guelph


S Irudaya Rajan, Chair, International Institute of Migration and Development

Return migration is an optional yet natural consequence of emigration. Considering the Kerala migration pattern which results in a large number of migrants located in the Gulf, where permanent residence remains a pipe dream, return migration is almost inevitable. The COVID-19 global pandemic precipitated an unprecedented wave of return migration across the globe. We document the experiences of 1985 return migrants through a quantitative survey. While return migrants have always been a demographically and economically significant section of Kerala’s population, the COVID-19 return migrants represent a unique case in history with ramifications for the economy, society, and psyche of Kerala.

S Irudaya Rajan is currently visiting CERC scholar at the Toronto Metropolitan University. He is Chairman of the International Institute of Migration and Development (IIMAD), and chair of the World Bank’s Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) thematic working group on internal migration and urbanization. For 35 years, he was Professor at the Centre for Development Studies, and Chair, Research Unit on International Migration funded by the erstwhile Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India (2006–16). Rajan was the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal Migration and Development and the editor of the Routledge series India Migration Report and South Asia Migration Report.

A light lunch will be provided. Please register if you are planning to attend to help us order the right amount of food.

Presented by: Canada India Research Centre for Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at the University of Guelph.

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