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Indians leaving India: 17 million already settled abroad as the country becomes wealthier

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 26 November 2018, 14:53 IST

The disposition to move to a safer and better place has always been a charm for the Indians, who can afford to migrate and settle in a different country. India has surprisingly seen a 143 percent increase since in the number of Indians living abroad the year 1990 to 2017, according to a study by analysts IndiaSpend, based on data from the United Nations Department of Economic Affairs.

An estimated 17 million Indians were living abroad in 2017, making India the largest source country for international migrants globally.

Besides, the per capita income has increased from $1,134 to $7,055, which is almost 522 percent increase. The Indians who were not able to find good job opportunities, moved overseas and settled when received a good option.

Also, there has been a drastic deccrease in the number of unskilled migrants leaving the country. An estimated 391,000 left India in 2017, almost half the number in 2011 (637,000), according to a new report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

However this does not necessarily mean that an increasing proportion of India’s emigrants are likely to be higher skilled or that policymakers should be worried about a rise in ‘brain drain’--the exodus of highly trained professionals from their native country.

One of the reasons cited as to why the number of unskilled migrants has declined is the changes made to the criteria used to classify workers when they apply for their emigration check.

This revision to the criteria means more professionals and workers are now classified as unskilled, forcing migrants to travel on non-emigration check required passports.

The Times of India also reported in March this year that some 20.8 million Indians applied for 90,000 jobs with Indian Railways, Such an example demonstrates India’s stagnant job market, afflicted by a lack of employment, which is being further impacted by a rise of 1.3 million in the working age population every month.

The preferred destination for migrant Indian workers appears to be Qatar (which has seen a 82,669% increase in its Indian population, to 2.2 million, from 1990 to 2017). Other Middle East countries in the top 10 destinations include Oman (688% increase) and the United Arab Emirates (622% increase). Saudi Arabia and Kuwait saw a 110% and 78% rise in their Indian populations over the seven years to 2017, respectively.

Several European countries also appear high on the list, with Italy experiencing a 3,967% in the same 27-year time period, despite it being a non-English speaking country.

The UK and the US remain among the countries with the highest Indian populations over the last decade.

First published: 26 November 2018, 14:53 IST