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While millions of Indians seek better lives abroad, India treats its immigrants poorly

DATE: 11-Jan-2021 Reported By: Scroll.in

India ranked the lowest among 52 countries assessed for key indices of migrant inclusivity in 2020, shows the recently launched Migrant Integration Policy Index.

India scored the least, 24 out of 100, far lower than the average of 50, putting it in a category where migrant integration is deemed “denied”.

The index, a policy tool that measures a country’s national policies on international immigrants across eight parameters, is published jointly by two European think-tanks, the Migration Policy Group of Brussels and the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, and was first released in 2014.

While other Asian countries such as China and Indonesia have improved their integration policies, India’s score has remained unchanged in the last five years. India’s Migrant Integration Policy Index scores fell below 20 in key policy areas including the labour market, education, health, access to nationality and anti-discrimination actions.

This is significant for two reasons: Although not the world’s most important migrant destination, India is home to 5 million immigrants, according to the Census 2011Data from 2019 from the Population Division of the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs noted a decline in immigrant numbers in India from 7.6 million in 1990 to 5.1 million in 2019.

Although the number of refugees and asylum seekers has gone down between 1990 and 2019 (from 212,700 to 207,600), they constitute an increasing proportion of the total immigrant population in India (2.8% in 1990 to 4% in 2019). Similar estimates from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees suggest that the number of refugees and asylum seekers in 2020 was 210,201, according to their January 2020 India Factsheet.