Labour Migration: an Analytical Study to Find out the Push Factors of Migration

DOI : 10.17577/IJERTV8IS060217

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Labour Migration: an Analytical Study to Find out the Push Factors of Migration

Er. Bhanu Pratap Singh

Urban & Regional Planner, Asst. Professor, NIMS University, Jaipur

Bhawana Singh

Independent Research Scholar & Master of Sociology

Abstract: – Mobility has been always the inherent part of the human survival and human society since the inception of civilizations throughout the world. The era of globalization and fast growing technologies has made it more connected with the development. Migration became the important characteristic of the human society. But these days, a lot of factors like financial conditions, political conditions, lack of carrier opportunities, resources scarcity etc. governed and shaped the migration of the people.

This paper tries to find out & investigate the constituents and effects of labour migration in India. In the recent decades, a large population shifted to urban areas from the rural areas. Sometime this migration is for short duration in lower economic class while it mostly the permanent in middle and upper class. This paper further details out the types of migration with their push factors in Indian scenarios.

Keywords: Migration, Labour Movement, Employment,


Rural-urban migration has always leaded to diverse economic opportunities across the world. Historically, it has played a significant role in the industrial development and urbanization process of many countries and continues to be significant in measurement, even though the migration rates have slowed down in various countries. However, many urban problems like heavily-burdened infrastructure, increasing urban-poverty and crime, have been blamed on this rural spill over. Though the migrants and their households might benefit greatly individually, it is seen that this individual benefit occurs at the cost of net loss to both rural and urban areas, and a decline in social welfare, through overcrowding and increased population in urban destination areas and a greater regional concentration of wealth, income and human capital.

In explaining migration across space, according to Harris and Todaro1 (1970), income differentials are taken as the motivating factor in moving people from low-income areas to relatively high-income areas. Various scholars research states that, caste and other few kinds of village networks help migrant workers to find employment in rural areas. The process can be identified as over-urbanization as long as:

  • Rural-urban migration leads to a misallocation and disparity of labour between rural and urban sectors in the sense that it raises urban poverty, underemployment and unemployment.

  • Rural-urban migration tends to increase the social cost for providing to a countrys growing population.

(Leighton)For most, finding decent, better paying jobs, is at the heart of their quest to move. The lack of economic livelihood and income inequality in their home country is a driving force. Young people entering the workforce are particularly affected as they are overrepresented in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, and services that are more vulnerable to economic downturns.


The study shows the different pattern of labour migration on the basis of their occurrences. The labour class people migrate from one place to another mainly in search of job and food. Sometimes the migration within the country and sometimes it becomes. Various research studies find out the various following types of migration:

  1. External Migration:

    External migration refers to the movement of people from their country to another country for a specific period or permanently migrate and settle in another country. From global level to regional level, a lot of people migrates form their place in past few years. Where a lot of people migrate in search of employment while a number of people were forcibly migrated from their native places due to civil war and other safety issues like Syria, Iraq etc.

    Another things responsible for external migration is the better job opportunities and living standards in developed countries. Skilled people and professionals from the developing countries often move to the developed countries. The United States and most of the develop countries from the Europe are the most attracting destination for the people to migrate.

    1Harris and Todaro (1970) and Ravallion and Datt (2002). Todaro (1969) treats this sector as a transitory phenomenon but in reality this has emerged as a persistent one. Mitra (1994) argued that natural growth of population maintained the urban supplies of labor at a high level, resulting in informal sector employment and poverty.

  2. Internal Migration

    Internal migration refers to the movement of the people form their native place to another district or to another state. This kind of migration occurs at a large level from a village level to a city or metro city level. Most of the people migrate for employment purposes.

    1. Rural to Urban Migration:

      Often people shows the migration trends towards urban agglomeration from the rural areas. This trends is increasing from the last few decades as the employment opportunities became limited and the income from the agriculture and farming work is not sufficient for their future needs. Regular problem of draughts and floods in various parts of the country forced the people to migrate from their native places.

    2. Urban to Urban Migration:

      The second and third tier cities doesnt have the facilities and infrastructure as compared to tire one cities. On the other hand these cities have not much job option except the government departments. The IT sector and other private sectors, which provides the employment at a large scale, are limited to tire one or metro regions. Most of the people migrate towards these cities to achieving and fulfilling their dreams and in search of a better life style.

    3. Seasonal Migration:

      The seasonal migration refers to the movements of the labours towards some specific regions for a fix period. In other words we can say that such kind of migration are mostly a requirement based migration. The agriculture work often generate the labour requirement as seasonal while other sectors like construction have the regular full year requirements. Most of the seasonal migration is caused by the agriculture work.

    4. Regular Migration:

As discussed seasonal migration in above para, season migration is most often caused by agriculture work while other sectors like real estate, construction industry etc. attracts the migration regularly. Despite the seasonal migration, these attracts the labour because of the availability of whole year employment. The metro cities, suburbs of metro regions and state capitals, special economic corridors and zones are some of the most attracting points of regular migration as these are having the employment opportunities for every person according to his skills.


There is a number of factors which push the humans to migrate from one place to another. Mainly the factors behind the migration are economical or financial factors, employment opportunities, social securities, etc.. Besides these factors, some other factors like war crisis, life securities, civil war etc. push the peoples migrate from one place to another.

Mainly in Indian scenario, following are the most important factors that inspire people to migrate:


It has been seen tha the economics conditions plays an important role in migration. Due to the shortage of work and limited employment, it becomes tough for the people to get the employment at their native place. The daily low skilled worker or labour and unskilled labour have already a very limited and irregular job options, this leads them to migrate to another big cities to find the job. The depressed economic conditions and poverty further push them to migrate to economically developed places. The big cities or metro cities have high job opportunities for every class of people from unskilled labour to professionals.

In industry and agricultural dominating economies, the industrial centres have always been the centre of attraction of migrating people. In developing economy like India, the industrial hubs and metro cities are the major attraction point for the migrated labours to find the work for them. While the agriculturally developed states like Punjab, Haryana etc. also encourage the seasonal migration for the agricultural work.


Like the economic factors, the social factors like ethnic, religious, cultural persecution inspire and push the migration at a large scale. In India, the people of lower socio-economic class having high mobility because of having no agricultural land which can bound them to their native place. Another findings says that the highly educated & professionals and financially sound people have high possibilities of migration at a bigger level since the employment options for such peoples


The demographical factors should be considered separately for global level to national level. The differences in the population growth of the various regions of any country often found to be a determinant of the migration. There is considerably a huge difference between those who migrate for the work purpose and those migrate for the permanent settlement for family reunification. Moreover, every migrant flow is unique in terms of their demographic characteristics like educational qualifications, marital status, age, gender etc.

The labour migrants and other work seeking migrants are typically young and working age and have high possibilities of further migration to other places also (Simpson). Marital status of a person is also an important factor of migration, foe ex. In

Indian scenario, women migrate to their husband place after marriage while women have less percentage as compared to men in job seeking people migration.

In addition, studies find out that the migration rate is higher among the peoples who speaks the same language. In Indian context, north indian and south indian people of the country having the low percentage of inter-migration as compared to their internal migration. This things clearly shows the importance of language in affecting the migration.


The case study was done in Mathura district to understand the migration and its causes and factors. The district shared its boundaries with the Haryana & Rajasthan while Madhya Pradesh is also not so far from the district. The district has a high agricultural work profile with industries also. This area produces the three crops in a year so the requirement of labour force is throughout the year while other sectors like construction, factories and brick production industry also attracts the labours in a huge number.

The Case study was done on survey of 500 household as well as a group interviews with the labours and their employers.

Status of Agricultural Labour force

Localized 35%

Migrated 65%

Source – Author

Status of Agricultural Labour force

Localized 35%

Migrated 65%

Source – Author

The study shows that around 65% of the agricultural labour was the migrants who came from the other states and this is a repeated pattern every year. Most of the labour migrants from the Bhar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Another things is that these labour comes mainly for agricultural work and after that they go back to their states. This is a perfect example of seasonal migration and the reason behind this kind of migration is that the availability of employment and a good wages as compared to other places.

The other things reveals by this case study is that a large number of peoples moved to town and big cities for employment. The following chart clearly shows that a very low percentage of labours are getting the employment within their villages while around 50% of the labour find the employment outside their villages.

Availibility of jobs

Within the Village Near-by Villages Move to the Towns Within 10 km. of the village

Availibility of jobs

Within the Village Near-by Villages Move to the Towns Within 10 km. of the village

Within 10 km. of the village


Within 10 km. of the village


Move to the Towns


Move to the Towns


Near-by Villages


Near-by Villages


Within the Village


Within the Village


Source: Author

Source: Author

Another push factor of migration is the differences in the wage rates from place to place depends upon the requirement of labors. The labors getting comparatively less wages at their native place with less chance of getting regular employment. The seasonal requirement of the labors encourage the high wage rates and it attracts the migrants for specifically agriculture work.


This paper tried to find out the push factors of the migration. The increasing number of working-age populations in the country and less availability of job for skilled and unskilled people is the biggest push factor of migration. Unavailability of employment and low living standards are the key of migration. This migration starts due to biased development and police formulation and it further lead to the development failure. This migration often create problem of in metro cities like increasing number of slums, rapid load increment on infrastructural services, law and order problems etc. The other affecting factors of migration are better job facilities, good salary, and more income, medical and educational facilities are attracting the rural people to move to the metro cities.

The immediate requirement is to review and change the policy level discourse on migration and discard the policies from theoretical facts and language which portrays migration always bad and trying to stop it. The neighbour countries recognised the need to support migrant and made availability of education, housing and health to them.

India needs to take similar steps immediately. Without such steps and actions, a huge amount of working age population will continue to be excluded from the development and this will lead to compromise to development goals of the India.


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