All About “Shubhayatra Scheme” | Scheme for Overseas Emigrants from Kerala.

The Kerala government is gearing up to introduce a groundbreaking initiative called the Shubhayatra scheme, aimed at simplifying the process for young individuals to pursue opportunities overseas. This visionary project seeks to provide financial assistance to young emigrants from Kerala, creating a favorable environment for migration. The Shubayatra scheme offers a comprehensive package comprising financial support, tax exemptions, and interest subsidies, with the purpose of empowering eligible candidates and facilitating their pursuit of higher education and employment abroad.

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What is Shubhayatra Scheme?

Under the Shubhayatra scheme, the Norka (Non-Resident Keralites Affairs) Roots will extend loans to eligible young people, assisting them in their quest for overseas employment. This financial aid is aimed at giving aspiring emigrants the necessary backing to explore job opportunities in foreign nations.

Shubhyatra Scheme 2023 Objective 

A key focus of the Shubhayatra scheme is to aid recent graduates from Kerala who aspire to work abroad following the completion of their higher education. By providing financial support to these graduates, the project aims to enable them to identify and secure suitable employment options abroad.

A Boost for Healthcare Professionals

The healthcare sector has played a pivotal role in Kerala’s emigration landscape, with a considerable number of nurses, doctors, and paramedical staff seeking better prospects overseas. Acknowledging this trend, the Shubhayatra scheme offers tailor-made support for healthcare professionals, simplifying their path to fulfilling their overseas employment aspirations.

Soft Loans to Cover Incidental Expenses

The emigration process involves various expenses that can be daunting for individuals from low-income families. To alleviate this financial burden, the Shubhayatra scheme provides soft loans to cover expenses such as recruiting company service charges, visa stamping fees, medical examination costs, attestation charges, airfare, vaccinations, and RTPCR tests.

Flexible Repayment Structure

Beneficiaries of the soft loan will benefit from a flexible repayment plan. This plan allows individuals up to three years to repay the borrowed amount. This accommodating timeline is designed to ease the transition for emigrants, enabling them to focus on establishing their overseas careers without immediate financial strain.

Allocating Resources and Repayment Plan

The State government has allocated a sum of ₹2 crore in the current fiscal year to support the Shubhayatra scheme. This allocation is earmarked to provide tax holidays and interest subvention to individuals pursuing overseas employment. These measures are intended to alleviate the financial burden on first-time emigrants and promote high-quality professional migration from Kerala.

Tax Holiday and Interest Subsidy

A unique feature of the Shubhayatra scheme is a tax holiday lasting six months for eligible candidates. This package includes financial aid of up to ₹2 lakh, a tax holiday spanning six months, and an attractive interest subvention. The ultimate goal is to enable qualified candidates to comfortably cover various expenses related to their overseas work journey.

This tax relief aims to ease the initial financial strain on individuals embarking on their overseas employment journey. Additionally, the Shubhayatra scheme offers interest subsidies to further alleviate the financial pressure on potential emigrants.

Two-Tier Soft Loan Schemes

To cater to the diverse needs of aspiring emigrants, the ‘Shubhayatra’ scheme presents two-tier soft loan schemes. The first scheme, known as ‘Foreign Employability Skilling Assistance,’ offers financial aid to candidates looking to enhance the skills required for foreign job markets. The second scheme provides soft loans to prospective expatriates, assisting them in covering the preparatory costs associated with labor migration.

Fostering a Positive Migration Ecosystem

The ‘Shubhayatra’ project goes beyond providing financial aid; its vision is to establish a positive and productive migration ecosystem for Kerala’s youth. By empowering them with appropriate resources and support, the scheme aims to make the emigration process smoother and more successful.

Elevating Quality and Fostering Economic Development

The ‘Shubhayatra’ scheme is poised to significantly enhance the overall quality of professional migration from Kerala. As the State is a leading recipient of remittances in India, its economic well-being is intricately tied to emigration trends. Thus, creating a favorable ecosystem for affordable and high-quality migration is pivotal for sustained economic development in Kerala.

Emigrants’ History in Kerala and the way forward

Emigration has been an integral part of Kerala’s history, leaving an indelible mark on the state’s socio-economic landscape. Historically, Kerala has witnessed emigration dating back to ancient times, with trade and maritime activities facilitating cultural exchanges with other parts of the world. However, the modern wave of emigration gained momentum in the 20th century due to economic factors, particularly in the Gulf region.

The significance of emigrants in Kerala is multifaceted. Economic opportunities in the Gulf countries, coupled with the oil boom in the 1970s, prompted a massive exodus of Keralites seeking employment. Remittances from these expatriates have become a critical pillar of Kerala’s economy, contributing significantly to the state’s GDP and augmenting the living standards of their families back home.

This emigration trend has also sparked social changes. The remittances led to improved education, healthcare, and infrastructure development, transforming many villages across Kerala. Additionally, exposure to diverse cultures has enriched the social fabric, leading to the exchange of ideas, values, and customs.

Emigrants at the time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to emigration from Kerala. The state, renowned for its robust diaspora and history of migration, witnessed a profound disruption in its emigration patterns due to the global health crisis.

The pandemic led to the closure of international borders, suspension of flights, and stringent lockdown measures in numerous countries. Consequently, numerous Keralites employed abroad found themselves stranded, unable to return home or visit their families. The pandemic’s economic downturn also impacted job opportunities in the Gulf and other destinations, compelling some emigrants to return to Kerala due to job losses and economic uncertainty.

The remittance-dependent economy of Kerala felt the impact deeply. With reduced income and financial hardships faced by emigrants, the flow of remittances, which had been a lifeline for many families, saw a decline. This had ripple effects on various sectors, including real estate, retail, and small businesses that relied on remittance-driven consumption.

Way Forward

Looking to the future, emigration from Kerala through this scheme will experience easy shifts due to this remarkable scheme that offers a comprehensive package comprising financial support, tax exemptions, and interest subsidies, with the purpose of empowering eligible candidates and facilitating their pursuit of higher education and employment abroad. Shubhayatra Scheme will encourage eligible candidates to go overseas and restart their careers abroad. 

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