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Where in the world are Indians headed?

When it comes to migrating, Indians lead the pack with a 32 million-strong diaspora out of which 18.68 million are of Indian-origin and 13.45 million are non-resident Indians.

Now, with top economies seeking semi-skilled and skilled professionals to plug labour shortages, offering them extensive benefits and upgrading their standard of living, Indians’ desire to migrate has reached an all-time high.

Going by the numbers, Indians continue to chase the American dream with 7,88,284 of them relinquishing their citizenship in 2021, according to a Ministry of External Affairs data.

Australia took the second spot after the US with 23,533 individuals giving up their Indian citizenship, followed by Canada (21,597), and the UK (14,637).

ET Online

A significant number of Indians chose to be citizens of Italy (5,986), New Zealand (2,643), Singapore (2,516), Germany (2,381), the Netherlands (2,187), Sweden (1,841) and Spain (1,595).

ET Online

Of the top 20 destinations of international migrants in 2020, all but three were high-income or upper-middle-income countries, according to a UN report. With a population of over four million, the largest cohort of Indians live in the US, followed by gulf countries like the UAE (3.5 million) and Saudi Arabia (2.5 million).Highly-Skilled/ Skilled Professionals Target Developed Nations Indians skilled in various fields are drawn to developed countries like the US, Canada, and the UK, which offer a high quality of life, stable economies, clean environments, and well-developed healthcare and education systems. These nations provide robust and diverse immigration pathways, along with faster visa processing. In recent times, post-COVID, India’s highly-skilled professionals are also eyeing countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, Italy, and other EU nations due to their low population and shortage of skilled workers.

The recent Global Wealth Migration Review highlighted Australia as a popular destination, witnessing a significant inflow of Indians. The country’s points-based immigration system favors wealthy and high-earning professionals such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, and accountants.Unskilled/ Semi-Skilled Workers Find Opportunities in Gulf and Asian Nations While some semi-skilled Indians migrate to developed countries, a majority seek employment in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, West Asian nations, as well as Asian destinations like Singapore and Malaysia. Approximately 70% of Indians in the Gulf region are employed as semi-skilled and unskilled workers, while professionals and white-collar workers make up 20-30% of the Indian population there. Media reports indicate a significant rise in Indians moving to Saudi Arabia (178,630 in 2022) and Kuwait (71,432), while the UAE remains a popular destination with 33,233 Indians.

Indian Students Prefer to Stay and Work Abroad Indian students studying in economically developed countries show a high likelihood of staying and joining the local workforce after completing their degrees. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, nearly eight out of ten Indian students studying abroad have plans to work and settle in their host countries.

In 2022, the number of Indian students pursuing higher education abroad reached a six-year high of over 750,000, studying in 240 countries worldwide. While Canada, Australia, the UK, and the US continue to be top choices, significant numbers of Indian students are also traveling to countries such as Uzbekistan, Philippines, Russia, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. Canada stands out as the leading destination, hosting over 226,450 Indian students, followed by the US, which welcomed 64,300 Indian students in 2022. The UK and Australia also attract sizable Indian student populations, with over 120,000 and 96,000 students, respectively. High-Net-Worth Individuals Seek New Residency and Citizenship Options

A recent report by Henley Private Wealth Migration reveals that approximately 6,500 high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) from India, possessing investable wealth of $1 million or more, are projected to leave the country in 2023. These HNWIs seek alternate residency or citizenship through investment migration. Australia, the UAE, Singapore, the US, and Switzerland are the preferred destinations for Indian HNWIs in 2023.

The golden visa scheme in Dubai and Singapore’s favorable tax environment, robust business ecosystem, and safety have emerged as top choices for wealthy Indians seeking new migration opportunities.

As Indians continue to pursue better prospects and opportunities worldwide, their diaspora remains strong, contributing to the global migration landscape.

with inputs from IANS