April, 2024

With 9 Million, GCC makes the top destination for Indian expats

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Fresh statistics reveal that approximately 9 million Indian expatriates have established their homes and careers within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, marking the region as their preferred destination and solidifying the India-Gulf migration route as one of the world’s busiest.

This migration trend traces its roots back to the era of British colonial rule, gaining significant traction following the oil boom of the 1970s. Over the ensuing decades, the influx of Indian workers into the Gulf soared as these nations actively sought foreign talent to bolster their workforces.

Recent data released by the Ministry of External Affairs (India) sheds light on this phenomenon, indicating that out of approximately 10.34 million non-resident Indians (NRIs) worldwide — individuals holding Indian passports but residing abroad — a staggering 8.8 million have made their homes in the GCC countries, constituting over 66 percent of the NRI population.

These statistics came to light following a citizen’s request under the Right to Information Act 2005, compelling government disclosure in response to public inquiries.

According to the ministry’s response to the RTI query, the GCC harbors substantial numbers of NRIs, with the United Arab Emirates hosting 3.41 million, Saudi Arabia accommodating 2.59 million, Kuwait housing 1.02 million, Qatar hosting 740,000, Oman with 700,000, and Bahrain with 320,000. Beyond the Gulf region, the United States emerges as the next significant destination, home to 1.28 million NRIs, followed by the United Kingdom with 350,000.

The allure of lucrative compensation packages and geographic proximity continues to draw Indian expatriates to the Middle East, ensuring its position as a favored destination. This trend appears set to persist despite ongoing market dynamics in the Gulf region, driven by economic diversification efforts and initiatives aimed at prioritizing domestic employment opportunities.

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