India has the largest number of migrants living abroad. The latest World Migration Report says that a whopping 17.5 million global citizens come from India. India also tops the list of remittance recipient countries (remittance being the act of sending money elsewhere). Indians living abroad sent home US $78.6 billion in the year 2020, a substantial contribution to the economy indeed. In fact, India has been among the top 5 remittance receiving countries since 2005. The United Nations observes International Migrants Day today. Let’s take note of the contributions that migrants are making.
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected global migrants as well as internal migrants who are most marginalised. Despite providing essential services at great personal risk, many of them lost their jobs and were excluded from social welfare.
What is International Migrants Day?
December 18 is observed as International Migrants Day because in the year 1990 on this date, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to protect the rights of migrant workers and their families. The International Organization for Migration is the international body which works with governments and NGOs to shed light on issues related to migration. Racial and social discrimination, displacement and exploitation, to name a few. India bore most of the brunt of natural disasters in South Asia this year, with more than 2.7 million people displaced because of flooding, cyclones and tropical storms.
What is the theme for International Migrants Day 2020?
The theme for International Migrants Day this year is ‘Reimagining Human Mobility’. The International Organization for Migration has chosen this theme because recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic gives us all an opportunity to reimagine human mobility and build more inclusive and resilient societies. The decisions citizens of the world make in the face of today’s unparalleled challenge to global mobility will affect the global landscape for decades to come.
Contribution of migrants
Migrants have contributed to their home countries’ economies by directly investing in or starting new businesses. Several studies have demonstrated that returned migrants are more likely to start businesses than are people who never left their countries. The presence of a large number of migrants can also establish a market for products manufactured in their countries of origin and thus enhance trade flows between economies.
Offshore business process outsourcing and back-office operations are significant ventures in India, started by returnees by raising venture capital at times of economic downturns in the developed countries, particularly the USA, that drove them back home in the first place.