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66% of 1.34 crore NRIs reside in Gulf countries

July 31, 2023

Nagpur: Of the estimated 1.34 crore Non-Resident Indians, more than 66 percent are in the Gulf countries of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain, the External Affairs Ministry has said in an RTI reply.

The data is as of March 2022, said the ministry.

An NRI is an Indian citizen who is ordinarily residing outside India and holds an Indian passport.

Nagpur-based banker Abhay Kolarkar said he had sought the data pertaining to NRIs and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) under Right to Information (RTI) a few months ago and the ministry’s reply reached him in the last week of June.

In its RTI reply, the ministry said that an estimated 1.34 crore NRIs living in 210 countries. Of these, 88.8 lakh overseas Indians live in six Gulf nations.

While 34.1 lakh NRIs live in the United Arab Emirates, 25.9 lakh live in Saudi Arabia, followed by 10.2 lakh in Kuwait, 7.4 lakh in Qatar, 7.7 lakh in Oman, and 3.2 lakh in Bahrain.

Kolarkar said he wanted the data to get a sense of the number of NRIs who might be affected in case of a war or a humanitarian crisis on foreign soil.

As per the RTI reply, 12.8 lakh NRIs live in the US. The number is 3.5 lakh for the UK, 2.4 lakh for Australia, 2.2 lakh for Malaysia, and 1.7 lakh for Canada.

However, the Gulf nations have very few PIOs, while the US has more such persons.

A PIO is a person who or any of whose ancestors was an Indian national and who is presently holding another country’s citizenship or nationality i.e. he or she is holding a foreign passport.

At 31 lakh, the US has the most number of PIOs compared to other countries, said the RTI reply. It is followed by 27.6 lakh in Malaysia, 20 lakh in Myanmar, 16 lakh in Sri Lanka, and 15.1 lakh in Canada

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