By Ajay Sharma,
Traditionally, Indian migrants had moved to developed nations searching for job opportunities, education & healthcare benefits, a better standard of living, and even political stability. In the decade following independence, millions of Indians have migrated overseas to avoid poverty, inequality, and unemployment. USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, EU Countries, and Gulf Countries were the safe harbors for the stimulating wave of migrating Indians.
But in today’s era, migrants and their decisions are more driven by the aspirations of a growing global middle-class and business community. Technology and communications have made everything easier and accessible to travel and migrate to the favorite destination. And, it is far more manageable for the migrants to stay in touch with the family, visit or send money by using the robust technologies available and relatively affordable transportation.
As per the recent studies by the Government of India, around 1 percent of India’s population lives in foreign countries. More than 1.33 crore, Indians, live abroad permanently in different countries. And the same study further suggested that more than 6 lakh Indians have renounced their Indian citizenship and gained citizenship in foreign countries in the past five years. Below is the table of the Developed Countries and the Indians Migrants who are currently in these countries:
|Countries||Non-Resident Indians||Persons of Indian Origin||Overseas Indians|
Why is the Immigration trend changing rapidly?
Currently, the change in Immigration trends happens due to the three principal reasons – Covid impact, Low Population, and Low Birth Rate. The developed countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and EU Countries – especially Germany – face an acute shortage of skilled workers due to the Low Population, ageing population, and Low Birth Rate. Even within the EU member countries, there is a disparity in development parameters, driving mobility.
Looking at recent case studies, the Russian population declined by devastatingly more than one million people in 2021. It is a historic drop in population since the disintegration of the USSR. These current demographic afflictions were worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, which took the lives of more than 660,000 people in Russia. Another issue is the falling birth rates due to a generation born after the collapse of the Soviet Union and economic uncertainties. Despite various initiatives to boost the birth rate, the population continues to be a downward trend than the previous year.
Japan is termed the ‘demographic time bomb’ by all the media outlets. The young people in the country are deciding to forego having children. As a result, the population is projected to lose 20.7 million people in the coming years. And, the shrink in the total population will go from 126.5 million to 105.8 million, with a staggering 16.3% decline.
Italy is also the victim of the declining population, which is expected to shrink from 61 million to 28 million. According to World Bank data, another issue is the ageing population, wherein over 23% of Italian people are over 65 years.
Almost all developed countries have similar stories, making them more vulnerable and pinning their hopes on immigration.
Why are Indians choosing countries other than Canada and UK?
Countries like Canada and UK are the driving force and global leaders of international migration. Most skilled professionals desire to move to these countries due to robust and diverse immigration pathways aligned with faster processing. However, there is a significant preference shift towards the other developed countries due to the pandemic. Due to the low population and shortage of skilled workers in the countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, Italy, and other EU countries, Indians are now aiming to migrate to these countries.
Many countries have improved their Immigration systems and streamlined their application process. Australia is one of those countries that opened its borders to migrants and students. The government is introducing more immigrant-friendly policies at three-level Immigration Structure – Federal, State, and Regional. Japan has an improved skilled immigration pathway known as ‘Specific Skilled Workers’ that targets specific occupations in certain industries. Germany spearheads an employment-infused migration scheme with ‘Job Seeker Visa’ and ‘Employment Visa.’
Along with skilled immigration, these developed countries also offers visa pathways for business professionals such as startup visa, investment visa, entrepreneur visa, golden visa, and self-employed visa. These countries cater to a broader section of the society and create immense opportunities for skilled and business professionals alike. Currently, Indians are the largest migrating community in Canada, the USA, and the UK, but sooner or later, Indians will conquer the immigration charts of the other countries.
(The author is President and Founder – Abhinav Immigration Services. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)