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More Indians have left India as migrants than any other nationality, a new Pew Research survey shows.

India is the number one country of origin of international migrants, with 15.6 million Indians living abroad, according to the Pew research published on December 15. Overall international migrants make up 3.3 per cent of the world’s population. International Migrants at 244m people can constitute the world’s fifth largest country, just behind Indonesia’s 255m population. Pew published this research ahead of Sunday 18 December, which the UN has declared International Migrants Day.

The top origins of international migrants are India (15.6 million), followed by Mexico (12.3 million), Russia (10.6 million), China (9.5 million), Bangladesh (7.2 million) and Pakistan (5.9m).

Given that Indian migrants outnumber Chinese migrants by more than 50% and Pakistani migrants (total population less than 200 million, one sixth of the Indian population) are less than half of the Indian migrants says something about the emigration pressures inside both India and Pakistan.

It is also perhaps a comment upon the governance standards as judged by the citizens of India and Pakistan. Pew Research concludes that most people from this list have migrated voluntarily for economic opportunities moving from middle income to high income countries.

Indians have increasingly migrated in the past 2 decades to the UAE and other Persian Gulf countries in search of better economic opportunities. Pew Research shows that as of 2015, nearly 3.5 million Indians lived in the UAE out of its 8 million migrants. Pakistanis are the second largest group with over 1.5m living in the UAE.

The UAE-Persia Gulf corridor is overall the world’s second-largest migration corridor after the Mexico-USA corridor. However, it attracts a more diverse range of nationalities, with a high percentage of south Asians, unlike the Mexico-USA corridor, where the USA receives a net inflow from Mexico alone.

Authored by Philip Connor, the report also shows that among destination countries, the US has more international migrants than any other country, with one-in-five international migrants (46.6 million) landing there. However, this immigrant share is only 14 percent of its total population which is considerably lower than that in many Persian Gulf countries such as the United Arab Emirates (88%), Qatar (75%) and Kuwait (74%), where three-in-four or more people are international migrants. The Middle East has the fastest-growing migrant population, the number of migrants in the Middle East has doubled during the past decade, from 25 million in 2005 to 54 million in 2015.

Other top destinations of migrants include Germany (12.0 million), Russia (11.6 million), Saudi Arabia (10.2 million) and the United Kingdom (8.5 million)

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