Indian Citizenship Exodus: 87,026 Opt For Foreign Nationalities In the First Half Of 2023

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New Delhi, 13th August 2023: Over the last five and a half years, spanning from January 2018 to June 2023, a substantial number of approximately 840,000 Indian citizens have opted to renounce their nationality in favour of acquiring citizenship from various foreign countries. This noteworthy trend gained further momentum in the first half of the current year, with the count reaching 87,026.


The act of renouncing Indian citizenship has garnered attention, prompting questions about the driving factors behind this considerable migration phenomenon. A closer examination reveals that a confluence of factors, both complex and diverse, contributes to this trend. These factors include economic considerations such as improved career opportunities, enhanced quality of life, better educational prospects, superior healthcare facilities, and even environmental conditions with cleaner air. Marital and family ties, along with the pursuit of personal convenience, have also been cited as reasons behind this migration.


Yet, the migration patterns aren’t solely explained by these individual motives. India’s history has been punctuated by waves of migration, both voluntary and involuntary. This contemporary trend is simply a continuation of this historical phenomenon. For instance, in the 19th century, individuals from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar migrated to British colonies such as Fiji, Guyana, Suriname, Mauritius, and Trinidad and Tobago, driven by various circumstances including indentured labour arrangements.


In the modern context, the ease of international travel, enhanced mobility, and reduced travel times for intercontinental journeys have certainly played a role in facilitating such migrations. It is worth noting that travel from certain foreign destinations to India may be quicker than some domestic journeys within India itself.


The destinations favoured by Indians seeking foreign citizenship offer intriguing insights into the motivations behind their decisions. Among these countries, the United States stands as the most preferred choice due to its abundant employment opportunities. Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Italy follow suit, rounding up the top five destinations. This group collectively encompasses over 85% of individuals who relinquished their Indian citizenship during the mentioned period.


Additionally, among the Gulf nations, the United Arab Emirates emerged as a top choice, offering its citizenship to 1,865 Indians. The trend also extends to China, where a noteworthy 2,442 Indians acquired citizenship, a significant development considering the complex relationship between the two neighbouring countries.


Curiously, some Indians have chosen to embrace Pakistani citizenship, exemplifying the diversity of factors contributing to this migration trend. The numbers, while relatively small, indicate a unique aspect of this phenomenon. Marriage, family connections, professions, or extended residence in Pakistan seem to be the driving forces behind these choices.


Furthermore, the diaspora of Indian-origin individuals holds considerable influence and significance in various foreign countries. Many prominent American companies are led by Indian-origin CEOs, and members of the Indian diaspora have made notable contributions in the political arena as well. This diaspora actively contributes to safeguarding India’s interests and economy, not only through remittances but also through knowledge-sharing and investments.


The evolving global landscape also plays a role in shaping these trends. As globalization advances and the world becomes more interconnected, the movement of people across borders increases. The 2022 World Migration Report by the United Nations highlights India as the origin country with the largest emigrant population, boasting nearly 18 million individuals living abroad. This significant statistic positions India at the forefront of international migration.


It is essential to address the political implications that arise from this migration trend. The Indian government has presented historical statistics from the UPA-era exodus in parliamentary discussions to provide context for the current migration patterns. While individual motivations may vary, these migration trends contribute to a larger dialogue on the socio-economic and political landscape of the nation.


The implications of this migration trend also extend to the global stage. India’s rise as an economic and military power has made it a significant player in the international arena. The country has made remarkable strides, transitioning from the 12th largest economy in 2005 to the fifth largest, with projections of becoming the world’s second-largest economy by 2075. This growth trajectory has prompted a broader consideration of why some individuals are choosing to leave a country on the cusp of such progress.


In conclusion, the migration of Indians relinquishing their citizenship and acquiring foreign nationalities is a multifaceted phenomenon driven by a range of complex factors. While personal convenience, economic opportunities, improved quality of life, and family ties are some of the driving motivations, this trend also reflects historical migration patterns and the changing dynamics of a globally interconnected world. The impact of this migration is felt both within India and on the international stage, influencing discussions on economics, politics, and global relations. As India continues to grow and evolve, understanding the motivations behind such migration trends becomes essential for shaping informed policies and foster

ing meaningful dialogues.