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“Source:- Times Of India”
NEW DELHI: 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.

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 static, according to the UN’s International Migrant Stock released on Wednesday. And it trails the 12% rise in total migrant population, which was 243 million in 2015.

UAE, US and Saudi Arabia – with 3.4 million, 2.6 million and 2.4 million respectively – were the top three destinations for Indians, according to TOI’s analysis of the data. While the Gulf countries continue to have a high concentration of Indians, they’ve lost some of their drawing power, going by foreign ministry figures.

Another report – also released on Wednesday – by OECD, 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 limited 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 51 million), followed by Germany and Saudi Arabia, with nearly 13 million migrants each.

The UN’s press release quoted John Wilmoth, director, UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) 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,” he said.

Another report, released on Wednesday in Paris , by the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD), shows that migration flows to OECD countries rose slightly by 2% in 2018, with around 5.3 million new ‘permanent’ migrants–this does not include temporary labour migration or international students.

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). In 2016, owing to a heavy influx of migrants from Syria, India had occupied fourth position. China continued to retain its leadership position, accounting for 8.1% of total OECD inflows in 2017.

Countries continue to adjust the criteria on which their labour migration programs are based to ensure better selection and meeting of their skill gaps. Canada’s Express Entry route for skilled labour was modified in late 2017. Australia significantly reformed both its temporary and permanent employer sponsored migration programs for skilled labour in 2018, illustrates OECD’s report.

The majority of developed and high-income countries (36 in all) are OECD members. These include European countries, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Gulf countries, which are an important destination for Indian immigrants, do not belong to the OECD group.

In 2017, around 18.5 lakh foreign residents in OECD countries acquired the nationality of their host country. This is a sharp drop of 11% compared with 2016 when almost 21 lakh people obtained such citizenship. India’s ranking dipped to second in this category, with 1.21 lakh obtaining citizenship of an OECD member country during 2017 as opposed to 1.3 lakh in the previous year. Mexico stole a march over India and became the main country of origin of new citizens of OECD countries in 2017 with 1.22 lakh citizenships being acquired – the majority being in US.

As regards the Indian diaspora, more than 50,000 acquired US citizenship (a 10% rise over the previous year). Also, 10,000 Indians acquired Canadian citizenship and 17,000 obtained British citizenship. These statistics showed a decline of 40% and 33% respectively.