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A Little India in Little Armenia — Global Issues


Indian travelers in midtown Yerevan. According to the Migration Service of Armenia, greater than 37.000 Indians gotten in Armenia just in the initial 9 months of 2023. Credit: Lilit Gasparyan/IPS
  • by Lilit Gasparyan (yerevan, armenia)
  • Inter Press Service

“We work in construction,’’ Sahil, 23, tells IPS from the yard of a humble one-storey house. He left his family in Punjab – a state in northern India- two and a half months before, bound for Yerevan with two other friends.

“We heard there was a high demand for labour and that the pay is good. We get 5000 AMD a day (US$12,5). In India, you can live comfortably with that money,” states Sahil.

However, taking into consideration the very little customer basket is around US$200 one can hardly manage with such an income.

“We all share rooms and cut costs to a minimum. That way I can send at least $150 to my family in India every month,” clarifies Sahil, prior to emphasizing that he has a job authorization from the Migration Service of Armenia.

Armenia has actually come to be a preferred location for Indian individuals looking for job possibilities. According to the Migration Service of Armenia, greater than 37.000 Indians gotten in Armenia just in the initial 9 months of 2023.

20-year-old Koma Mera functions as a cleaner in among Yerevan’s most preferred fitness centers for $12,5 a day. “I have three sisters and one brother. I miss them a lot, but we had financial problems, so I’m here now,” Koma informs IPS remaining on her bunk bed, after she had actually talked with her mommy on a video clip phone call.

After paying the lease for the holiday accommodation and covering the family expenditures, she sends out the continuing to be cash to India to make sure that her more youthful brother or sisters “do not miss anything back home.”

“Living in other countries would be too expensive, so I came to Armenia. It’s a great country for making money, that’s why you find so many Indians here. When I see them in the streets I feel I’m not alone,” includes the young migrant.

Nonetheless, Koma thinks points would certainly be much easier if the residents altered their mindset in the direction of them.

“There are good people here, but also those who are rude to us,” she clarifies. “When I sit down at work, they make such a face to tell me that I must keep working. Moreover, Armenians do not sit at the table with us during the lunch break,” states the Indian female.

Low-paid and low-skilled

Nested in the Caucasus area, Armenia is a small and practically mono-ethnic nation with a populace of regarding 3 million. According to the most recent populace demographics (2011), just 2% come from various other ethnic teams, such as Yezidis and Assyrians.

Nonetheless, the photo could be various after the 2022 demographics is ultimately launched, exposing the boost in the variety of immigrants getting house standing. According to the Statistical Committee’s information, numbers practically increased in simply one year, getting to greater than 16,000 individuals since 2022.

In discussion with IPS, Migration Service of Armenia authorities revealed that just this year 2,100 Indian residents have actually related to obtain house standing based upon job task in Armenia.

A versatile visa routine given that 2017 has actually opened up the nation to immigrants, with pupils opening up the course mostly as a result of the inexpensive of college researches. Workers did the same and, today, Indians are the 2nd greatest team after Russians and prior to Iranians.

But the work market is tiny. The Statistical Committee of Armenia´s information from 2022 disclosed that regarding 13 % of the work pressure is jobless.

During a rundown with reporters on November 20 in the National Assembly of Armenia’s Minister of Economy, Vahan Kerobyan, claimed that Indian travelers in Armenia are primarily low-paid, low-skilled experts and mostly job in building and construction, farming, and solutions.

“I came from Gegharkunik Province (eastern part of Armenia) to work in construction here in Yerevan. I´m ready to work for 10,000 AMD per day but the employer says he can hire an Indian man twice as cheap for the same job,” Narek, an Armenian guy in his 50s that didn´t wish to reveal his identification informed IPS.

From his workplace in midtown Yerevan, political researcher and expert Vigen Hakobyan shares his take with IPS.

“All four sides of Yerevan are under construction, hence the high demand for workers in the sector since last year. Armenians generally refuse to do that work because they say that the pay is low’’ explains the expert.

“They (Indians) also drive taxis, make deliveries and clean. Most of them return to India after earning money. Nonetheless, Armenians have the impression that foreigners have entered their homes and have no intention of leaving. There’s a certain level of mistrust towards them,” tensions Hakobyan.

The expert indicate “fundamental differences” in between immigrants and residents. “It’s about faith, culture, mentality, lifestyle… Besides, our society is also a very conservative one. I think integrating will be difficult for them,” ends the expert.

A feeling of home

This rise of Indian travelers has actually additionally led the way for fraudsters and human traffickers. There have actually been records of people being supplied phony tasks in Western nations prior to obtaining stranded in Armenia.

However, points are really various when individuals can take a trip securely, rely upon a respectable work and appreciate security.

It’s currently 7 years given that Parangesh Shah and Deepali, an Indian pair in their late 40s, showed up in Armenia. Parangesh, a ruby handling professional, was moved to the Caucasus nation by his business in India.

“We didn’t even know where Armenia was. We hadn’t heard about this country before,” Deepali tells IPS from her Indian-style home.

She has set up a small business out of her hobby in Armenia. She makes traditional Indian drawings on the skin with henna. They are called “mehendi”, and their price ranges from $2,5 to $125 depending on the volume and complexity of the work.

“When I came here, I made a mehendi on the hand of one of my friends. I posted a picture of it on social media. Soon after, many girls contacted me and asked me to draw beautiful mehendis on their hands. Now I have many clients, and mostly Armenians,” she says.

A lot has changed during their years in Armenia. Today, they are even invited to local weddings and dance to traditional songs. The couple says they could have never imagined that Armenia would become a “little India” for them.

“It’s so beautiful here! Besides, Indians work in shops, deliver food, do home repairs…” says Deepali. “It almost feels like being back home”.

© Inter Press Service (2023) — All Rights ReservedOriginal resource: Inter Press Service



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