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The year 2017 saw a decline in the number of Indian citizens wanting to become citizens of other countries, with the number dropping to 92,000 from 1.15 lakh in the previous year. The drop in the number is mainly concentrated in countries where Indians are traditionally known to go, according to rough estimates by the Ministry of External Affairs, reported Times of India.
Norway, Belgium and Sweden were among the preferred choices of counties by Indians, over USA, UK, Canada and Australia — this is just an estimate since the absolute numbers are not comparable.
A drop of 12 percent was observed in Indians desiring US citizenship in 2017 compared to 2016. The number was 30 percent in the UK, 9 percent in Australia and a whopping 55 percent in Canada.
The numbers skyrocketed in Sweden with 160 percent rise in Indians wanting to be citizens, and Norway saw a 218 percent jump. The high percentage was due to numbers being in three digits, compared to the five-digit numbers in other countries.
Experts think that the current trend is that of Indians settling in smaller but developed countries, and this will continue for some years. Other factors contributing to this shift are the political climate in India and building pressure from natives in countries where Indians would usually go to, like USA and UK.
Saju James, partner and managing director at an immigration services firm, told TOI, “It won’t be that people going to the US or UK will reduce. Job opportunities there are still very lucrative and lots of Indians, especially the young, will continue to go there in search of opportunities. That said, the number of people wanting to go to countries like Sweden and Norway, among others, will also increase and that trend is here to stay.”
Sweden had 25,719 Indians out of which 10,370 were Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and 15,349 were Non-Resident Indians (NRI) in 2017. In Norway, there were 12,300 PIOs and 7718 NRIs.
People are demanding more than just job opportunities, like the standard of living and social security, says Vikram Shroff from a law firm. “Countries that encouraged migrants, including Indians, are now pushing for stricter immigration laws. Countries with relatively lesser population are sensing this opportunity and welcoming talented migrants.”