AS WE know, since the end of World War II, international trade was initiated and it was fueled chiefly by an international exchange of goods and capital rather than people. But by the 1950, international migrants stared to play an increasingly important role in this activity. With time, it increased tremendously.
Migration has many costs and benefits. Let us look at them:
The principal cost of this migration, as far as developing countries are concerned, is its "brain drain." Those residents of developing nations, able to find work in the developed world are those who are well educated; unfortunately, these are also the ones whom their native countries need most. The resultant- brain drain hamstrings developing nations with lower productivity, decreased levels of technical skill, a disproportionately-smaller tax base (because higher-educated, higher-earning workers pay more in taxes than they receive in services).
The costs of brain drain, however, are offset to some degree by the benefits of remittances that migrant workers send back to their native countries. While expatriates generally use these payments to support their less-fortunate family members, the resulting economic advantages extend well beyond any particular household. Remittances help to significantly reduce poverty and equalise incomes. Indeed, higher rates of migration reduce the costs of moving overseas and allow poorer and less-educated workers to seek new economic opportunities abroad—which not only equalises economic success and opportunity, but helps to counteract the unbalanced effects of the brain drain.
The higher rates of international migration create a high demand for certain forms of labour in the developed world and a high supply of that labour in developing nations and of declining communication and transportation costs. Moreover, international migration is desirable: developed nations can hope to profit from a "brain gain" opposite the developing world's "brain drain," while developing nations enjoy the economic network benefits that their expatriates send home. It is important that developed and developing nations improve their cooperation on the issue so that developing nations are not unnecessarily hurt by a brain drain of skilled workers who then go underappreciated in the developed world. Neither group can hope to stop international migration but if they play their cards right, both can hope to benefit from it.
There are large numbers of Indians who have settled abroad, most of them have lost their Indian citizenship and they have become “foreigners.”
Indians traditionally emigrated to the United Kingdom and Canada. Only in the early 1970s did the number of persons emigrating to the US begin to exceed the total of those going to the UK and Canada. However, by the early 1990s, the number of people migrating to the US from India
was almost twice as many as those going to the other two countries. Today, the Indian community in the US (migrants plus Indians born in that country) form a noticeable proportion of the Asian population there. What is more important is that among the immigrant communities, Indians constitute a much higher proportion of the labour force (that is, those employed and those actively looking for employment). According to the 1980 US Census figures, 75 per cent of Indian immigrants aged 16 and over were in the labour force - 95 per cent of them were employed, while 5 per cent were looking for jobs. This figure was significantly higher than that for all immigrants (56 per cent in the labour force) and noticeably higher than the figure for total US population (62 per cent in the labour force).
More striking perhaps was the fact that in 1983, the share of professionally and technically qualified immigrants constituted 50 per cent of the total Indian immigrants, placing Indian knowledge workers at the top of the list of those from all Asian countries, including Japan. Average earnings of Indians are also considerably higher than those of other Asian immigrant communities.
India is among the world’s 10 largest exporters of migrants, with more than six million of its citizens residing abroad. India has the largest stock of overseas doctors among all countries and also exports nurses to several developed countries like the UK and Australia
Apart from US, UK and Canada, there are many other countries that have many Indians. Some of these countries are France, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Fiji islands, Surinam, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Middle East and many others. For example, the Indian community in America is said to be the fourth largest immigrant community. According to a study carried out by Aaron Terrazas of the Migration Policy Institute, out of the 1,734,337 immigrants of Indian ancestry living in the United States in 2006, about 81 per cent were born in India.
Over the past two decades, India has been ranked within the top three source countries of immigrants to Canada and British Columbia. It was even the top source for BC for many years during the early 1980s. During the period 1980-2000, there were more than 77,000 Indian immigrants who landed in BC, representing 12 per cent of all immigrant landings in the province.
The total population of India-born was more than doubled in Australia between 1901 and 1966 but increased almost six-fold to about 96,000 by 2001. The 2001 Census of Tasmania records 523 people as Indian by birthplace of one or both parents and 959 as of 'Indian ancestry'.
Immigration to the UK since 1922 has been substantial, in particular from the former colonies of the British Empire - such as India and other countries under British nationality. Total net immigration reached 237,000 in 2007, an increase of 46,000 on 2006. The largest groups of people granted British citizenship were from India, Pakistan, Somalia and the Philippines.
Indians have come to New Zealand since the late 18th century. Steadier Indian migration to New Zealand began in the 1890s. In 1981, about 46 per cent of Indians had been born in New Zealand, 31 per cent in India, 13 per cent in Fiji, and 10 per cent in other countries. By 2001, the proportion of New Zealand-born Indians had dropped dramatically to 28.6 per cent. The number of Indian students heading to New Zealand has been steadily increasing over the past five years. There are also a lot of job opportunities in New Zealand despite the global recession. Indian origin people enjoy enormous political influence because political parties look up to them for funding during the elections.
The majority of the Asian South African population is Indian in origin, most of them descended from indentured workers transported to work in the 19th century on the sugar plantations of the eastern coastal area, then known as Natal. Since 1994, however, there has been a steady trickle of immigrants from the Indian sub-continent. Most Indian South Africans live in KwaZulu-Natal, particularly Durban and surrounding areas.
After the 1970s oil boom in the Middle East numerous Indians emigrated for work to the Gulf countries. Indians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) constitute a large part of population of the country. Over a million Indian migrants are estimated to be living in the UAE, who form over 40 per cent of the total population of the UAE. A majority of Indians live in the three largest cities of the UAE — Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. More recently, the UAE has experienced a tremendous increase in the population of Indians who, having migrated to the country as a result of opportunities in petroleum, construction and other industries, far outnumber the population of local emiratis.
About 5.5 million Indians are employed in Middle Eastern oil exporter nations such as the UAE. The Gulf countries accounted for over 90 per cent of labour outflows from India throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Indian workers constitute the largest group of migrants in the Gulf. There were over 1.5 million Indian migrant workers in the Middle East in 1991, rising to 4 million in 1995. During the 1991-97 period, Saudi Arabia accounted for about 50 per cent or more of these workers. It is estimated that in 2000, out of a stock of 285,000 Indian workers in Kuwait, around 100,000 were engaged as domestic help.
As a product of the British indentured labour system, Indian immigrants, called ‘girmitiyas’, came to Fiji in 1879 to work in sugarcane plantations. Between 1879 and 1916, 60,000 Indian migrants arrived in Fiji and their work helped create the foundations of Fiji’s sugar-based economy. A process of permanent emigration started during and after independence in 1970 and it has been a continuing process since then. Fiji witnessed ‘great waves’ of outflow of skilled human resources during the 1980s and 1990s and again after May 2000. It does not attract any Indians now.
Mauritius has about 67 per cent people of Indian origin.