Indians becoming foreign citizens in just 9 months of 2021 is 25 times that of foreigners becoming Indians in 5 years | India News
Separate data from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) show that while more than 1.1 lakh Indians renounced their citizenship in favour of another country’s in the first nine months of 2021, India granted citizenships to 4,177 foreigners in the five years between January 2016 and December 2020.
Another 10,635 applications seeking Indian citizenship are pending with the MHA as of December 12, 2021. And, even if all these are granted citizenship — unlikely going by the number of applications approved in each of the past five years — the number of foreigners who become Indians would only be 14,815.
Comparatively, MEA data shows nearly 6.1 lakh Indians became foreign citizens between 2017 and 2021, and it is more than 8 lakh if 2016 figures are included.
Vikram Shroff, Leader, HR Law at Nishith Desai Associates, says: “…The number of Indians preferring citizenships of other countries, especially the developed ones, is expected to continue to happen as has been the trend. However, there are a few countries, including some smaller European and other countries outside of North America that are constantly making it easier for talented people to gain residency, which in turn makes it easy to obtain citizenship.”
Another expert pointed out that given the large population that India has, resources and opportunities are bound to be scarce and people are bound to look outward. “…While countries like the US and the UK have some visa restrictions, many other countries are looking to attract good talent from across the world and Indian citizens see this as opportunities,” he added.
A country-wise analysis of the data shows that 42% of the more than 6 lakh Indians became US citizens in the said five years, while in the nine months of 2021, one in two Indians who renounced their citizenship did in to become citizens of the US.
After the US, Canada gave the most number of citizenships to Indians (91,000) in the said period, followed by Australia (86,933) and England (66,193) and Italy (23,940). Eighty-six other countries together granted citizenship to another 83,191 Indians.
While country-wise break-up for people granted Indian citizenship in 2020 is not available, data for 2016-2019 clearly shows that most of them are neighbours and from the US. Of the 3,538 people who acquired Indian citizenship between 2016 and 2019, Pakistanis (2,405) accounts for 68%, followed by Afghans (431), Bangladeshis (132), Sri Lankans (92) and those from the US (80).
Also, of the 10,635 applications pending with MHA as of December 2021, 7,306 are from Pakistan, followed by 1,152 from Afghanistan and 428 are stateless people. Those from Sri Lanka and the US also make it to the top five.