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25 Oct, 2023 06:46

India leads in migration to ‘high-income’ countries – report

Canada, which is engaged in an ongoing row with New Delhi, is among the top destinations for Indians seeking to emigrate
India leads in migration to ‘high-income’ countries – report

India has topped a list of countries with the largest number of emigrants to “high-income” Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member nations, according to a new report.

While about 407,000 Indian nationals emigrated in 2021, the country also leads in acquiring citizenship in the OECD area, with the US, followed by Australia and Canada, dominating.

According to the research, titled “International Migration Outlook: 2023,” released on Monday in France, the US handed out the most passports to Indian immigrants (56,000), followed by Australia (24,000) and Canada (21,000). A total of 133,000 Indians were granted citizenship in an OCED country in 2021. 

The OECD, which has 38 member countries, was founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. Most of these countries are considered "rich" and "developed" and attract migrant workers and students.

Canada, according to the study, recorded the most significant proportional increase in granting citizenship to foreign nationals, with a 174% increase between 2021 and 2022. The North American country, which recently accused New Delhi of conducting a political assassination in a Vancouver suburb, added a record 375,000 new citizens in 2022. The highest number of immigrants issued Canadian passports in 2022 came from India (60,000), followed by the Philippines (42,000), Syria (20,000) and Pakistan (15,000). 

A shift overseas generally results in higher incomes for Indians. The World Development Report, released in April, showed an estimated 120% gain for Indians who moved abroad for work. According to the report, low-skilled Indians immigrating to the US stand to gain the most, as they would see a jump in income of nearly 500%, followed by immigration to the UAE, at almost 300%.

To step up efforts to actively recruit immigrant workers, several OECD-member countries continue to sign bilateral agreements and advance migration and mobility partnerships with selected origin countries,” the report noted, adding that Portugal, Germany, and Austria have recently concluded agreements on “migration and mobility” with India. Notably, it is the first time that Germany has signed such a bilateral agreement. 

The report added there was 26% more ‘permanent-type’ immigration to OECD countries in 2022 compared with the previous year, and preliminary figures for 2023 suggest a further increase. With more than 6 million new permanent immigrants, not including Ukrainian refugees, permanent immigration reached a record level in 2022, the report noted. Temporary labor migration, especially of the seasonal variety, also registered a “strong increase.”

India has also emerged as the second-largest source of international students in OECD countries; 424,000 Indian students travel abroad for studies in 2021, only surpassed by China, which sent 885,000 students. According to the report, the number of students from India, Vietnam, and Nepal have more than doubled between 2014 and 2021. The report further revealed that Indians account for the largest number of international students in Canada and Latvia.