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Talent, skills will be repatriated to India due to Covid: Tharoor

"COVID-19 will inaugurate an era of deglobalization. Lots of countries are turning isolationist and protectionist. COVID-19 has convinced many countries that foreigners are to be feared. That strict border and immigration controls are essential", ...

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Dr Shashi Tharoor (File Pic)
MUMBAI: About 8.1 million migrant workers from India who had been working in the Gulf region, are now left staring into a black hole, courtesy the coronavirus pandemic. The majority are blue-collar, semi-skilled and unskilled workers, who were repatriating their salaries to India. For most, it's a reset button, as they look for new, domestic opportunities amid economic uncertainty, to make ends meet.

"COVID-19 will inaugurate an era of deglobalization. Lots of countries are turning isolationist and protectionist. COVID-19 has convinced many countries that foreigners are to be feared. That strict border and immigration controls are essential", said Dr Shashi Tharoor, noted parliamentarian in a webinar organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC).

Indian migrants who've either come back or are stuck in the US, Gulf and other countries are facing hostility and uncertain economic stability.

So, how do the international migrants, the Indians overseas in US and Gulf regions adapt to such times?

"My wish is that there would be special visa categories carved out for specific classes of service providers, like healthcare workers, people in the information technology sector - all of the people who need to head into countries and help out with specific temporary projects and their implementation at short notice", said Poorvi Chothani, Managing Partner at LawQuest and Past President, West India Council – The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce.

Airlines have been worst impacted since the outbreak of the pandemic. While Indian domestic flight operations resumed by the end of last month, they are still far away in hitting peak capacity. Though people in the industry believe that things are not as worse as it seems to be.

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"Right now, doubt, uncertainty and fear are stopping people from travelling. Still, we see more domestic flights with 50% occupancy, when we had expected only 25%,” said Bhaskar Bhat, Chairman of TATA SIA Airlines-Vistara, adding that he found people sentiment to be better, even as airlines came together to provide safety, lesser contact and better health standards.
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