Desi diaspora stays world’s largest

At 17.5 million, India’s diaspora continues to be the largest in the world constituting 6.4% of the total world migrant population of 272 million in mid-2019. After India, the largest number of migrants are from Mexico (11.8 million), China (10.7 million), and Russia (10.5 million).

While India’s diaspora in absolute numbers has increased 10% from 15.9 million in 2015, as a share of total world migrant population, it’s remained largely static, according to the UN’s International Migrant Stock. And it trails the 12% rise in total migrant population, which was 243 million in 2015.

The UAE, the US and Saudi Arabia—with 3.4 million, 2.6 million and 2.4 million respectively—were the top three destinations for Indians. While the Gulf countries continue to have a high concentration of Indians, they have lost some of their drawing power, going by foreign ministry figures which show a decline in the flow to this region.

Another report also released by the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development, a bloc of 36 advanced nations including the US, shows Indians moving up one position to No. 3 in 2017 with an inflow of 3.04 lakh—behind China and Romania.

The number of Indians who got US citizenship in 2017 rose 10% to more than 50,000 over the previous year.

UN figures pegging international migrants worldwide at 272 million reflects a rise of 23% over 2010 data, where the migrant population was 221 million. UN’s data set is based largely on collated census figures. UN defines international migrants as anyone who changes their country of usual residence, irrespective of their motive — be it for work or as a refugee.

“Although migration is global, most journeys are taking place within a set of countries, with the US, Germany, and Saudi Arabia making up the top three,” said a UN press release. The US hosted the largest number of international migrants (close to 51million), followed by Germany and Saudi Arabia, with nearly 13 million each.

The UN’s press release quoted John Wilmoth, director, UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs as saying: “The link between migration and development is very well established. As a general observation, the contribution of migrants both in host countries and countries of origin, includes sending valuable remittances back to countries of origin, and a major social contribution through transmission of ideas.”

Another report, released on Wednesday in Paris, by the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development, shows that migration flows to OECD countries rose slightly by 2% in 2018, with around 5.3 million new ‘permanent’ migrants.

Country-wise data for the year 2017 shows that ‘total’ inflow of new migrants to OECD countries in 2017 was 6.8 million, a miniscule decline of 1% over the previous year’s figure.

The top three countries of origin of new immigrants were China, Romania and India.

With 3.04 lakh new immigrants from India, the country occupied third place and accounted for 4.5% of total inflows (as opposed to 3.8% in the previous year).

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