More than 3% of the world’s population in 2015 were international migrants, and Indians formed the largest group among the 243 million expats in the globe, according to a United Nations study.
According to UN figures, the number of Indians living abroad in 2015 were 13,575,724. The fourth, fifth, and sixth positions were all held by India’s neighbours China (9,546,065), Bangladesh (7,205,410) and Pakistan (5,935,193) in the UN list.
Among the host countries, the United States tops the chart receiving a total of 46,627,102 migrants followed by Germany (12,005,690) and Russia (10,576,766) at second and third positions.
A Pew Research study said that the number of Indians living abroad were much higher than the UN estimate for the same time. It said 15.6 million Indians were living abroad which meant 5% of all international immigrants were Indians.
Incidentally, India was the top most country to receive remittances ($69 billion) from its migrants for the same year, followed by China ($64 billion) and Philippines ($29 billion).
The answer to the difference in figures between the UN and Pew Research may lie in the fact that the UN considers an individual living in a foreign country for at least a year as an international migrant.
According to UN Population Division, UAE was the most preferred destination for Indian migrants with 3.5 million out of the 13.5 million living there.
Pakistan and United States had the next highest numbers of Indians with two million in Pakistan and 1.97 million Indians living in the US.
Saudi Arabia (1.89 mn), Kuwait (1.06 mn), Oman (0.78 mn) and United Kingdom (0.78 mn), Qatar (0.65 mn) and Canada (0.62 mn) were the other top countries which host Indians.
President and CEO of Western Union in an article for the World Economic Forum quoted a National Foundation for American Policy study said 33% of companies founded by migrants were started by Indians and 7% of all UK companies were set up by Indians.
Within the US community alone, 21% of Indian migrants are in management, business or finance occupations, compared with 11% of all migrants. Meanwhile, 7% of all UK companies were founded by Indians. In the US, 33% of immigrant-founded companies had an Indian founder.