Get a Deeper Understanding of the Indian Diaspora

Get a Deeper Understanding of the Indian Diaspora

12th April 2023

Despite the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, the number of international migrants grew to 281 million in 2020. Of this, the top country of origin of the world’s migrants is India. There are currently 18 million Indians worldwide, making it the world’s biggest diaspora. According to a UN report, the top three countries where Indians migrate to are:

  • UAE – 3.5 million
  • USA – 2.7 million
  • Saudi Arabia – 2.5 million

For people to leave their home country and seek better opportunities in other places, strong factors must fuel the exodus. Let’s explore some of these.

  • Education – Over the decades, acquiring a degree from a foreign college or university has been a primary reason for Indians for moving abroad.  By 2024, the number of Indian students abroad will reach 1.8 million.  This may be motivated by the thinking that foreign education could give a person a better outcome in terms of employment or business.

And as more Indian parents can afford to send their children abroad, student outflows increase significantly every year.  The top destinations of Indian students are the UK, Canada, USA, Singapore, and Australia.

  • Better future – Many skilled workers believe they have a better future in another country like the UAE or the US, especially those in the IT sector. And this is not at all a remote idea. Looking at the remittances from Indians working abroad, India has been the world’s top receiver of remittances since 2010. From $53 billion in 2010, the remittances grew to $89 billion in 2021, lending proof that Indians are, in fact, enjoying success abroad.


  • Mobility – the Indian passport is one of the least powerful passports with access to visa-free travel to less than 60 countries. Indians who choose to pursue a second nationality and passport would like to have more mobility to travel in and out of key countries to conduct their business dealings. If they go down this path, they will be required to give up their Indian citizenship as per the law, as Indians are not allowed to hold dual nationality. In this instance, they can apply for an OCI which stands for Overseas Citizen of India.

What are the implications for Indians and the importance of getting an OCI

The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) was launched in 2005 to provide permanent residency to people of Indian origin and their spouses to live and work in India indefinitely. Since dual citizenship in India is not allowed, the OCI scheme allows overseas Indians the rights of Indian citizens. The OCI card allows the holder of a multi-purpose, multiple entire and a lifelong visa to visit India. The holder is also exempted from the foreigner registration obligation for any length of stay in India.

OCI holders are not Indian citizens; therefore, they are not allowed to vote. The OCI card does not function as a passport so the holder still needs to present his or her passport for every visit to India.

The OCI card makes travel in and out of India easy and hassle-free. For Indians who hold citizenship of another country, the OCI card allows the holder the right to live and work in India as a resident. There are no restrictions to the number of visits to India.  This is most convenient for Indian businessmen who must travel to the country several times a year to conduct, oversee and operate their businesses and visit family and friends.

A look at the professions of immigrant Indians 

Indian immigrants are normally proficient in English, highly educated, and skilled workers. These traits enable them to land in highly skilled industries. Among the top professions of Indians in the US are:

  • Health care worker
  • Registered nurse
  • Software developer
  • Front-end manager
  • Finance manager
  • Data scientist

In Canada, the highest-paying jobs for Indians are the following:

  • Financial analyst
  • Structural engineer
  • Business development and marketing executive
  • Accounting technician and bookkeeper
  • Indian cuisine cook
  • Research assistant (agronomy)

In the UAE, the digital space holds great promise for Indians looking are relocating to the emirate:

  • Digital product manager
  • Data scientist
  • Software engineer and mobile developer
  • Cloud infrastructure and cyber security expert
  • Sales and business development
  • Financial analyst

The High-Net-Worth Indian Diaspora

But what is interesting to note is that the Indian diaspora is not limited to those wanting to have a better life than what they had in India. Even the affluent Indians are not only looking to move to other countries; they are taking it one huge step further by investing in a second passport. This is a major move as they will eventually have to renounce their Indian citizenship since dual citizenship is prohibited in India.

In 2022, an estimated 8,000 HNWIs left India and moved to other countries. This movement is distinct from the Indian diaspora known to many because this now involves the wealthy and educated set. So why are the rich Indians giving up their citizenship and opting for another?

A second passport has long been dubbed as the ultimate “Plan B”. For family, business and wealth, it seems that CBI programmes are now highly regarded as a reliable solution in mitigating uncertain times. Through CBI programmes, investors can truly become global citizens. With this comes the promise of optionality in a global setting. Whether for business, wealth protection or securing the future generation, a second citizenship can dramatically become a great enabler.

Mobility and global business expansion

It has long been accepted that Indians contribute greatly to the economies of the countries they migrate to. But for global entrepreneurs, it’s a different story altogether. By tapping the international market, businessmen can leverage the economies of countries like the UAE that welcome business activities worldwide. But you need to be where the proverbial action is.

Investing in a second passport through CBI programmes gives Indians better mobility in moving from country to country to do business. These passports, the most popular of which are from Caribbean nations, allow visa-free travel to more than 150 countries,  Including the Schengen Area, the UAE, China and the UK, without having to take up residency physically in that country. This gives Indian entrepreneurs, exporters and businessmen the freedom of movement to be where they need to be anywhere in the world. This further positions them to be in the front row to witness firsthand the incubation and emergence of innovation.

Greater education options for children

Spouses and children who fall within the required age to be dependent also get citizenship. This opens doors for them to pursue international studies in EU Schengen states, Canada, Australia, the UK and the USA. Earning a degree from a European college or university gives the young generation a greater competitive advantage and positions them to have more career choices. This now changes the understanding of investing in and preparing for the younger generation’s future.

Wealth security 

Many Indian HNWIs are also taking the path of securing their wealth abroad as part of their “Plan B”. Once again, CBI programmes have come up with the answer to this. To acquire a second passport through the CBI programmes of Caribbean nations, an applicant only needs to make a predetermined donation to a government project or make a required investment in a government-approved project. As citizens of any of these nations, immigrant Indians get to enjoy the perks. There are no taxes for an inheritance, wealth, income, or real estate. This means they can now secure their wealth for generations to come.



Source - Citizenship Invest