Networks perpetuating labour migration from India to Lebanon: a comparative study, states of Punjab and Tamil Nadu

Seema Gaur, Government of India
Prem C. Saxena, Independent Consultant

The present paper attempts to contribute to the understanding of role of networks in perpetuating international migration. The paper undertakes comparative analyses of these networks using evidence from the quantitative and qualitative data collected from a sample of 402 migrant labourers - 201 each from the States of Punjab and Tamil Nadu in India, working in Lebanon, which experienced civil war for sixteen years from 1975 to 1990. The study utilizes the first hand data collected in the host country unlike most of the studies based on data collected from return migrants. We find that social networks- personal as well as formal play crucial role in making migration a region specific chain process and a self-perpetuating phenomenon. Our study provides support both for the theory of Social Capital and theory of Cumulative causation. One interesting finding is the increasing commercialization of seemingly personal networks especially in case of Tamil migrants.

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Presented in Session 14: International migration and networks