At 17.5 million, Indian diaspora largest in the world : UN report

At $78 billion, India is also the top receiver of overseas remittance

November 28, 2019 03:30 pm | Updated 03:30 pm IST - United Nations

India continues to be the largest country of origin of international migrants. | File

India continues to be the largest country of origin of international migrants. | File

India continues to be the largest country of origin of international migrants with a 17.5 million-strong diaspora across the world, and it received the highest remittance of $78.6 billion from Indians living abroad, the U.N. migration agency said.

The International Organisation for Migration said in its ‘Global Migration Report 2020’ that the number of international migrants in 2019 is now estimated at 270 million and the top destination remains the U.S., at nearly 51 million.

In its latest global report, the IOM noted that the overall figure represents just a tiny fraction of the world’s population, although it is a 0.1% increase on the level indicated in its last report, published two years ago.

“This figure remains a very small percentage of the world’s population (at 3.5%), meaning that the vast majority of people globally (96.5%) are estimated to be residing in the country in which they were born,” IOM’s Global Migration Report 2020 said.

According to the U.N. agency, more than half of all international migrants (141 million) live in Europe and North America. An estimated 52% are male, and nearly two-thirds of all migrants are looking for work; that’s around 164 million people. India continued to be the largest country of origin of international migrants. It had the largest number of migrants living abroad (17.5 million), followed by Mexico (11.8 million) and China (10.7 million). The top destination country remained the United States (50.7 million international migrants).

The report also noted that international remittances increased to $689 billion in 2018. The top three remittance recipients were India ($78.6 billion), China ($67.4 billion) and Mexico ($35.7 billion).

The United States remained the top remittance-sending country ($68 billion) followed by the United Arab Emirates ($44.4 billion) and Saudi Arabia ($36.1 billion).

Although most migrants travelled to the U.S., the report confirmed other important migration corridors from poorer countries to richer nations such as those to France, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

“This pattern is likely to remain the same for many years into the future, especially as populations in some developing subregions and countries are projected to increase in coming decades, placing migration pressure on future generations , IOM said.

In Africa, Asia and Europe, most international migrants stay within their regions of birth, but the majority of migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean and North America do not.

Focusing on the Middle East, data showed that Gulf countries have some of the largest numbers of temporary labour migrants in the world, including the United Arab Emirates, where they make up almost 90% of the population.

Highlighting how ongoing conflicts and violence in Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen have led to massive internal displacement in the last two years, IOM’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre said that a total of 41.3 million people were forced to flee their homes at the end of 2018 — a record since monitoring began in 1998.

Syria has the highest internally population of displaced people, at 6.1 million, followed by Colombia (5.8 million) and the Congo (3.1 million).

After nearly nine years of conflict, Syria is also the top refugee-originating country, at well over six million - dwarfing Afghanistan (at around 2.5 million) - out of a total of nearly 26 million.

Finally, turning to the impact of climate and weather disasters, the report notes that Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines contributed to the fact that 3.8 million people were newly displaced there at the end of 2018, the largest number globally.

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