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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  Indians migrating to less-travelled shores: OECD

Indians migrating to less-travelled shores: OECD

Indians remain among top migrants to OECD countries and are now headed for newer destinations, shows data released by the rich nations' grouping

India occupied fourth place with 271,503 migrants to OECD countries in 2016 compared with 113,082 in 2000. Photo: iStockPremium
India occupied fourth place with 271,503 migrants to OECD countries in 2016 compared with 113,082 in 2000. Photo: iStock

Bengaluru: The number of Indians migrating to rich countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has more than doubled since the turn of the century and they are headed for newer destinations, new data released by OECD shows.

The OECD International Migration Outlook 2018 published recently by the rich nations’ grouping shows that Indians ranked fourth globally among people who migrated to OECD countries in 2016, the latest year for which data is available.

China topped the list with more than half a million migrants, followed by Romania and Syria. India occupied fourth place with 271,503 migrants to OECD countries in 2016 compared with 113,082 in 2000.

An analysis of historical migration patterns shows that destination countries for Indians have become far more diverse compared to earlier. In the early 2000s, the US and the UK accounted for the majority of Indian emigrants. Now, countries such as Australia and Germany are seeing rising migration from India. In fact, Australia saw more migrants from India than from any other country in 2016, the OECD data shows.

The share of the US and the UK—accounting for more than half of Indian emigrants to OECD throughout the first decade of the 21st century— has fallen in recent years. Only 37% of Indian migrants to OECD countries migrated to the US and UK in 2016.

The share of Canada declined in the early 2000s, and this has remained largely unchanged over the past few years. Canada and Australia now receive roughly similar numbers of Indian immigrants.

The share of the top five destinations—the US, Canada, Australia, the UK and Germany—has declined 10 percentage points since 2000 to 75% in 2016.

Overall, Indians migrating to OECD countries accounted for 3.8% of all migrants to the 35-member group in 2016, the data shows. The data does not include migrants to Lithuania, the 36th nation to join the OECD earlier this month.

In 2000, Indian emigrants accounted for 2.9% of all migrants to OECD countries. This share rose to 4.9% in 2010 before falling to 3.8% in 2016, OECD migration data shows.

As a share of the stock of Indian migrants, OECD countries made up of 30% of total international migration stock from India—down from 30.6% in 2010, World Bank data shows.

The flow of remittances from OECD countries has remained largely unchanged over the same period, accounting for a third of remittances to India, World Bank data shows. However, the country-wise share of remittances shows some changes.

While the US continues to account for roughly half of OECD remittances, the UK’s share has declined 1 percentage point from 2010 to 16.9% in 2017.

Australia’s share to India has shot up 2.6 percentage points to 8.3%, in line with the growing flow of immigrants to Australia.

The OECD data also shows that Indians topped the list of countries whose citizens acquired the nationality of an OECD country in 2016.

Although the US and UK top the list of countries where most Indian emigrants acquired citizenship, their dominance has declined over time.

In contrast, the share of Indian immigrants acquiring citizenship has risen in Australia and Italy, the OECD data shows.

To be sure, not all migrate to gain a permanent residence or citizenship. Many Indians go to OECD countries for higher studies, and not all of them get permanent residence or citizenship.

While data for 2016 is not available, data from 2015 shows that Indian students were next only to the Chinese in attending OECD educational institutions, with 223,000 Indians enrolled in OECD educational institutions in 2015, up by 20% from 2014.

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Published: 17 Jul 2018, 09:55 AM IST
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