The Economic and Psychological Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on Indian Migrant Workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Sep 3;9(9):1152. doi: 10.3390/healthcare9091152.


The ongoing Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the working environment, occupation, and living style of billions of people around the world. The severest impact of the coronavirus is on migrant communities; hence, it is relevant to assess the economic impact and mental status of the Indian migrants. This study is quantitative in nature and based on a sample survey of 180 migrant workers. Descriptive statistics, chi-square test, dependent sample t-test, and Pearson's correlation coefficient were utilized to analyze the surveyed data. The findings of the study reveal, through the working experience of the migrants, that new international migration has reduced due to lockdown and international travel restrictions. It was also reported that the majority of the migrants worked less than the normal working hours during the lockdown, causing a reduction of salary and remittances. Chi-square test confirms that the perceptions of migrants towards the COVID-19 management by the government were significantly different in opinion by different occupation/profession. Majority of the sampled migrants reported the problem of nervousness, anxiety, and depression; however, they were also hopeful about the future. The psychological problem was severe for the migrants above the age of 40, not educated, and with a higher number of family members. Subsequently, the policy implications from the findings of the research can draw attention of the policy makers towards protective measures which need to be implemented to support migrants during the ongoing pandemic. The government should take some necessary steps, such as a financial benefit scheme, to overcome the problems in the reduction of migrant earnings and remittances. The government should not focus only on vaccination and physical fitness of the migrants but also need to find out the cure of the psychological impact arising during the pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; economic and psychological impacts; employment status; migrants; migrants’ perception; pandemic; remittances; sample survey.