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UN Report: Trends in International Migrant Stock

Early this year, United Nations Organisation came out with a new set of data on international migrant stock. The report is vivid in many details and has been categorized under the UN effort to sustainable development. According to the report, migrants are ‘persons living in a country other than where they were born — reached 244 million in 2015 for the world as a whole, a 41 per cent increase compared to 2000, the figure includes almost 20 million refugees.’

It needs to be mentioned here that, India’s Diaspora population is the largest in the world with 16 million people from India living outside their country in 2015, according to the latest UN survey on international migrant trends.

Key findings of the report:

• The survey conducted by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) said the number of international migrants - persons living in a country other than where they were born - reached 244 million in 2015 for the world as a whole, a 41 per cent increase compared to 2000.

• According to the Trends in International Migrant Stock, Nearly two-third of international migrants lives in Europe (76 million) or Asia (75 million).

• The rise in the number of international migrants reflects the increasing importance of international migration, which has become an integral part of our economies and societies.

• India has the largest Diaspora in the world, followed by Mexico and Russia. In 2015, 16 million people from India were living outside of their country, a growth from 6.7 million in 1990.

• The survey further said that in 2015, two-third of all international migrants were living in only 20 countries, starting with the US, which hosted 19 per cent of all migrants at 46.6 million, followed by Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.

• India ranked 12th out of these 20 countries, hosting 5.2 million migrants in 2015, and a drop from 7.5 million in 1990.

• The UN data shows that the number of international migrants has grown faster than the world’s population. As a result, the share of migrants in the global population reached 3.3 per cent in 2015, up from 2.8 per cent in 2000.

• Of 244 million migrants registered last year, 20 million were refugees.

• Among major regions of the world, Northern America hosts the third largest number of international migrants, followed by Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Oceania. Between 2000 and 2015, Asia added more international migrants than any other major regions (a total of 26 million additional migrants).

Reasons for the increase in migrants’ population:

• There are both push factors and pull factors which are responsible for increase in migrants population. While better life, more  political and civic freedom, better standard of  living attract many migrants from Third world countries to Europe and  North America. In last few years push factors have become dominant reason for International migration. Thus conflicts, genocide and rise of terrorism in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Libya have forced many people to migrate to Europe and North America, while economic deprivation and droughts have also forced many from Sub Saharan African countries to migrate to Europe.

Implications of this report for India:

According to this report India has biggest Diaspora in the world and the population of overseas Indian increased from 6.7 million in 1990 to 16 million in 2015. Having such a large Diasporic Population provides India with number of benefits which include:

• It provides India with  much required foreign exchange to meet our shortfalls in current account, Thus according to latest data  remittances inflow crossed $70 billion in 2014.

• Diasporas are symbol of a nation’s pride internationally. They help in building its brand internationally through their huge success stories.

• Many emigrants make huge investments into their home countries in domestic financial, real estates, services and technological sectors helping in huge inflow of capitals that boost local economy and create huge jobs. E.g. - Anil Aggarwal controlled London based Vedanta group.

Diasporas are mostly based in foreign countries which are developed and hence are technologically advanced and rich in innovations. They help in bringing these technology and innovations to their country of origin through investment and collaborations.



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