Indian diaspora, largest in the world: UN report

At 17.5 million, Indian diaspora largest in the world with highest remittances of 78.6 billion USD.

Representative Image (Wikimedia Commons Photo)

India continues to be the largest country of origin of international migrants with a 17.5 million-strong diaspora across the world, and it received the highest remittance of USD 78.6 billion from Indians living abroad, the UN migration agency said.

The International Organisation for Migration said in its 'Global Migration Report 2020' that the number of international migrants in 2019 is now estimated at 270 million and the top destination remains the US, at nearly 51 million.

In its latest global report, the IOM noted that the overall figure represents just a tiny fraction of the world's population, although it is a 0.1 per cent increase on the level indicated in its last report, published two years ago.

"This figure remains a very small percentage of the world's population (at 3.5 per cent), meaning that the vast majority of people globally (96.5 per cent) are estimated to be residing in the country in which they were born," IOM's Global Migration Report 2020 said.

According to the UN agency, more than half of all international migrants (141 million) live in Europe and North America. An estimated 52 per cent are male, and nearly two-thirds of all migrants are looking for work; that’s around 164 million people.

India continued to be the largest country of origin of international migrants. It had the largest number of migrants living abroad (17.5 million), followed by Mexico (11.8 million) and China (10.7 million). The top destination country remained the United States (50.7 million international migrants).

The report also noted that international remittances increased to USD 689 billion in 2018. The top three remittance recipients were India (USD 78.6 billion), China (USD 67.4 billion) and Mexico (USD 35.7 billion).

The United States remained the top remittance-sending country (USD 68.0 billion) followed by the United Arab Emirates (USD 44.4 billion) and Saudi Arabia (USD 36.1 billion).

"This pattern is likely to remain the same for many years into the future, especially as populations in some developing subregions and countries are projected to increase in coming decades, placing migration pressure on future generations”, IOM said.

In Africa, Asia and Europe, most international migrants stay within their regions of birth, but the majority of migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean and North America do not.

Focusing on the Middle East, data showed that Gulf countries have some of the largest numbers of temporary labour migrants in the world, including the United Arab Emirates, where they make up almost 90 per cent of the population.

Highlighting how ongoing conflicts and violence in Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen have led to massive internal displacement in the last two years, IOM’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre said that a total of 41.3 million people were forced to flee their homes at the end of 2018 – a record since monitoring began in 1998.

Syria has the highest internally population of displaced people, at 6.1 million, followed by Colombia (5.8 million) and the Congo (3.1 million).

After nearly nine years of conflict, Syria is also the top refugee-originating country, at well over six million - dwarfing Afghanistan (at around 2.5 million) - out of a total of nearly 26 million.

Finally, turning to the impact of climate and weather disasters, the report notes that Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines contributed to the fact that 3.8 million people were newly displaced there at the end of 2018, the largest number globally.

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