Work and Livelihood of Northeast Migrants in Delhi: An Empirical Study

By Khansemphi KK Raleng

With the recognition of the rise in migration of people from Northeast states to metropolitan cities to pursue a better livelihood, this paper aims to uncover various aspects of their working lives. Responses of a sample of 225 Northeast migrants working in formal and informal sector reveal that they strongly believe that there is a way and possibility of earning a good living in the city. About 12 per cent of workers are engaged in more than one work, a few of them being engaged in both wage work and self-employment. Despite several challenges in working life including the experiences of differential treatment, a majority of respondents reported a better livelihood in the city. Although the BPO sector work has been one of the most preferred jobs for these migrants, most of them tend to change jobs for better opportunities and payment. It is strongly believed that communication skills are most important for a job. While factors like facilities in the workplace, organized and professional environment, and new learnings shape good working experiences for wage workers; for the self-employed, extra income, passion for and interest in own business, and financial independence are the motivating factors. The impact of the pandemic on Northeast workers has been quite evident from the fact that about onefourth of people took new jobs in the city in the aftermath of the pandemic.

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