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A non-resident Indian (NRI) ( Pravāsī Bhāratīya) is an Indian citizen who has migrated to another country, a person of Indian origin who is born outside Indiamarker, or a person of Indian origin who resides outside India. Other terms with the same meaning are overseas Indian and expatriate Indian. In common usage, this often includes Indian-born individuals (and also people of other nations with Indian ancestry) who have taken the citizenship of other countries. In the Americas, the term East Indian is often used to distinguish people who have originated from the Indian Subcontinent (including people from nations of the Indian subcontinent other than India) from those who are American Indians.

A Person of Indian Origin (PIO) is usually a person of Indian origin who is not a citizen of India. For the purposes of issuing a PIO Card, the Indian government considers anyone of Indian origin up to four generations removed, to be a PIO. Spouses of people entitled to a PIO card in their own right can also carry PIO cards. This latter category includes foreign spouses of Indian nationals, regardless of ethnic origin. PIO Cards exempt holders from many restrictions applying to foreign nationals, such as visa and work permit requirements, along with certain other economic limitations.

The NRI and PIO population across the world is estimated at over 30 million.

As of January 2006, The Indian government has introduced the "Overseas Citizenship of India " scheme in order to allow a limited form of dual citizenship to Indians, NRIs and PIOs for the first time since independence in 1947. It is expected that the PIO Card scheme will be phased out in coming years in favour of OCI.


The most significant historical emigration from India was that of the Romani people, traditionally known by the term "Gypsies". Linguistic and genetic evidence indicates the Romanies originated from the Indian subcontinent, emigrating from Indiamarker towards the northwest no earlier than the 11th century. The Romani are generally believed to have originated in central India, possibly in the modern Indian state of Rajasthanmarker, migrating to northwest India (the Punjab region) around 250 B.C. In the centuries spent here, there may have been close interaction with such established groups as the Rajputs and the Jats. Their subsequent westward migration, possibly in waves, is believed to have occurred between 500 A.D. and 1000 A.D. Contemporary populations sometimes suggested as sharing a close relationship to the Romani are the Dom people of Central Asia and the Banjara of India.

Another major emigration from the subcontinent was to South East Asia. It started as a military expedition by Hindu, and later Buddhist, kings of South India and resulted in the settlers' merging with the local society. The Cholas, who were known for their naval power, conquered Sumatramarker and Malay Peninsula. The influence of Indian culture is still strongly felt in South East Asia, especially in places like Balimarker (in Indonesiamarker). In such cases, it is not reasonable to apply the label 'PIO' to the descendants of emigrants from several centuries back. Intermixture has been so great as to negate the value of such nomenclature in this context.

The Indian merchant diaspora in Central Asia and Persiamarker emerged in the mid-16th century and remained active for over four centuries. Astrakhanmarker at the mouth of the Volga was the first place in Tsardom of Russiamarker where an Indian merchant colony was established as early as the 1610s. Russian chroniclers reported the presence of Hindu traders in Moscowmarker and St. Petersburgmarker in the 18th century.

During the 19th century and until the end of the Raj, much of the migration that occurred was of poor workers to other British colonies under the indenture system. The major destinations, in chronological order, were Mauritiusmarker, Guyanamarker, the Caribbeanmarker, Fijimarker and East Africa. There was also a small amount of free emigration of skilled labourers and professionals to some of these countries in the twentieth century. The event that triggered this diaspora was the Slavery Abolition Act passed by the British Parliament on August 1 1834, which freed the slave labour force throughout the British colonies. This left many of the plantations devoid of adequate work force as the newly freed slaves left to take advantage of their freedom. This resulted in an extreme shortage of labour throughout many of the British colonies which was resolved by a massive importation of workers engaged under contracts of indentured servitude.An unrelated system involved recruitment of workers for the tea plantations of the neighbouring British colonies of Sri Lankamarker and Burmamarker and the rubber plantations of British Malaya (now Malaysiamarker and Singaporemarker).

After the 1970s oil boom in the Middle East, numerous Indians emigrated for work to the Gulf countries. With modern transportation and expectations, this was on a contractual basis rather than permanent as in the 19th century cases. These Gulf countries have a common policy of not naturalizing non-Arabs, even if they are born there.

The 1990s software boom and rising economy in the USAmarker attracted numerous Indians who emigrated to the United States of America. Today, the USA has the third largest number of Indians.

PIOs today

In Australia

It is said that the first Indian had come to Australia as part of Captain Cook's ship. Before roads and road transport were developed, many Indians had come to Australia to run camel trains. These Indians were called Afghans and kept the communication and supply line open between Melbourne and the center of Australia. They would transport goods and mail via camel in the desert. Some of the earliest Punjabi arrivals in Australia included Kareem Bux who came as a hawker to Bendigo in 1893, Sardar Beer Singh Johal who came in 1895 and Sardar Narain Singh Heyer who arrived in 1898. Many Punjabis took part in the rush for gold on the Victorian fields while from the north-we

Indians also entered Australia in the first half of the 20th century when both Australia and India were still British colonies. Indian Sikhs came to work on the banana plantations in Southern Queensland. Today a large number of them live in the town of Woolgoolga (a town lying roughly half-way between Sydneymarker and Brisbanemarker). Some of these Indians, the descendants of Sikh plantation workers, now own banana farms in the area. There are two Sikh temples in Woolgoolga. One of which even has a museum dedicated to Sikhism. A large number of Briton and Anglo-Indians born in India migrated to Australia after 1947. These British citizens decided to settle in Australia in large numbers but are still counted as 'Indian' Nationals in the census. The third wave of Indians entered the country in the 1980s, after the demise of the white Australia policy. After the policy was abolished many Indian teachers and doctors settled in Australia. Another big influx began with the IT revolution. Large numbers of Indian software professionals arrived in Australia from 1976 onwards. After successive military coups in Fiji of 1987 and 2000 a significant number of Fijian-Indians migrated to Australia as such there is a large Fijian-Indian population in Australia. Fijian-Indians have significantly changed the character of the Indian community in Australia. While most earlier Indian migration was comprised primarily with educated professionals, the Fijian-Indian community was also comprised largely with professionals but also brought many small business owners and entrepreneurs.

The current wave of Indian migration is that of engineers, tool-makers, Gujaratimarker business families from East Africa and relatives of settled Indians. Starved of government funding, Australian education institutes are recruiting full fee paying overseas students. Many universities have permanent representatives stationed in India and other Asian countries. Their efforts have been rewarded and a new influx of Indian students entering Australia. The total number of student visas granted to Indian students for the year 2006-2007 were 34,136; a significant rise from 2002-2003 when 7,603 student visa's were granted Indian students.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 87% of Indians residing in Australia are aged under 50 and over 83% of the population are proficient in English. Many in the community are Hindu and Sikh, while there are also smaller number of Christians and Muslims. There are about 260,000 Indians living in Australia.

In Canada

According to Statistics Canada, in 2006 there were 962,665 people who classified themselves as being of Indian origin, including terms of “East Indian”, South Asian or Indo-Canadian. In addition, the term "Indian" is also widely applied to blacks and others from the Caribbeanmarker (West Indiansmarker). Out of this population, 50% are Sikhs, 39% are Hindus, and the remainder are Muslim, Christian, Jain, Buddhist, or no religious affiliation. The main Indian ethnic communities are Punjabi (who account for more than half the population) as well as Gujarati, Tamil (Indian as opposed to Sri Lankan), Indo-Caribbeans (numbering approximately 200,000), Keralites, Bengalis, Sindhis and others.

The first known Indian settlers in Canada were Indian army soldiers who had passed through Canada in 1897 on their way back home from attending Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebration in London, England. Some are believed to have remained in British Columbia and others returned there later. Punjabi Indians were attracted to the possibilities for farming and forestry. They were mainly male Sikhs who were seeking work opportunities. Indo-Caribbeans, descendants of the Indian indentured workers who had gone to the Caribbean since 1838, made an early appearance in Canada with the arrival of the Trinidadian medical student Kenneth Mahabir and the Demerara (now Guyana) clerk M.N. Santoo, both in 1908.

The first Indian immigrants in British Columbia allegedly faced widespread racism from the local white Canadians. Race riots targeted these immigrants, as well as new Chinesemarker immigrants. Most decided to return to India, while a few stayed behind. The Canadian government prevented these men from bringing their wives and children until 1919, another reason why many of them chose to leave. Quotas were established to prevent many Indians from moving to Canada in the early 20th century. These quotas allowed fewer than 100 people from India a year until 1957, when the number was increased to 300. In 1967, all quotas were scrapped. Immigration was then based on a point system, thus allowing many more Indians to enter. Since this open-door policy was adopted, Indians continue to come in large numbers, and roughly 25,000-30,000 arrive each year (which now makes Indians the second highest group immigrating to Canada each year, after the Chinese).

Most Indians choose to immigrate to larger urban centers like Torontomarker, Montrealmarker, and Vancouvermarker, where more than 70% live. Smaller communities are also growing in Calgarymarker, Edmontonmarker and Winnipegmarker. Indians in Vancouvermarker are from diverse locations in India, such as Punjabmarker, Gujaratmarker, Tamil Nadumarker, Andhra Pradeshmarker and Keralamarker. Little India. Indians in Vancouver mainly live in the suburb of Surreymarker, or nearby Abbotsfordmarker but can also be found in other parts of Vancouver. The vast majority of Vancouver Indians are of Sikh origin and have taken significant roles in politics and other professions, with several Supreme Court justices, three Attorneys General and one provincial premier hailing from the community.

The Greater Toronto Area has the largest Indian population in North America, with over 550,000 residents of Indian origin as of 2009.

Amongst the many notables in the Indo Canadian diaspora there are the Hon Minister Harinder Takhar of the Ontario Legislature.

In the Caribbean

From 1838 to 1917, over half a million Indiansmarker from the former British Raj or British India, were brought to the British West Indies as indentured servants to address the demand for labour following the abolition of slavery. The first two shiploads arrived in British Guiana (now Guyanamarker) on May 5, 1838.

The majority of the Indians living in the English-speaking Caribbean came from eastern Uttar Pradeshmarker and western Biharmarker, while those brought to Guadeloupemarker and Martiniquemarker were mostly from, but not only, from Andhra Pradeshmarker and Tamil Nadumarker. A minority emigrated from other parts of South Asia, including present-day Pakistanmarker and Bangladeshmarker. Other Indo-Caribbean people descend from later migrants, including Indian doctors, Gujarati businessmen and migrants from Kenyamarker and Uganda. A vague community of modern-day immigrants from India is to be found on Saint-Martin / Sint Maartenmarker and other islands with duty-free commercial capabilities, where they are active in business.

Indo-Caribbeans are the largest ethnic group in Guyanamarker, Surinamemarker, and Trinidad and Tobagomarker. They are the second largest group in Jamaicamarker, Saint Vincent and the Grenadinesmarker and other countries. There are small populations of them in Bahamasmarker, Barbadosmarker, Belizemarker, French Guianamarker, Grenadamarker, Panamamarker, St. Luciamarker, Martiniquemarker and Guadeloupemarker.

The indentured Indians and their descendants have actively contributed to the evolution of their adopted lands in spite of many difficulties. Jamaica has always celebrated the arrival of the East Indians in Old Harbour Bay on May 13. In 2003, Martinique celebrated the 150th anniversary of Indian arrival. Guadeloupe did the same in 2004. These celebrations were not the fact of just the Indian minority but the official recognition by the French and local authorities of their integration and their wide-scale contribution in various fields from Agriculture to Education, Politics, and to the diversification of the Creole culture. Thus the noted participation of the whole multi-ethnic population of the two islands in these events.

In East Africa

Before the larger wave of migration during the British colonial era, a significant group of South Asians, especially from the west coast (Sindh, Surat, Konkan, Malabar and Lanka) regularly travelled to East Africa, especially Zanzibarmarker. It is believed that they travelled in Arab dhows, Maratha (Coonagee Angria, Kanhoji Angre), possibly Chinese junks and Portuguese vessels. Some of these people settled in East Africa and later spread to places like present day Uganda. Later they mingled with the much larger wave of South Asians who came with the British.

Indian migration to the modern countries of Kenyamarker, Uganda and Tanzania started nearly a century ago when these were part of British East Africa. Most of these migrants were of Gujarati or Punjabi origin. Their number may have been as high as 500,000 in the 1960s. Indian-led businesses were (or are) the backbone of the economies of these countries. These ranged in the past from small rural grocery stores to sugar mills. In addition, Indian professionals, such as doctors, teachers, engineers, also played an important part in the development of these countries. After independence from Britain in the 1960s, the majority of Asians, as they were known, moved out or were forced out from these countries (in 1970's by Idi Amin in Uganda). Most of them moved to Britain, or India, or other popular destinations like the USA and Canada.

In Indonesia

Though there are no official figures, it is estimated that there are around 25,000 PIOs/NRIs living in Indonesia of which the Indian expatriate community registered with the Embassy and our Consulate in Medan numbers around 5000.

Indians have been living in Indonesia for centuries from the time of the Sri Vijaya and Majaphit Empire both of which were Hindu and heavily influenced by the subcontinent. Indians were later brought to Indonesia by the Dutch in the 19th century as indentured labourers to work on plantations located around Medan in Sumatra. While the majority of these came from South India, a significant number also came from the north. The Medan Indians included Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. They have now been in Indonesia for over four generations and hold Indonesian passports. While local statistics continue to suggest that there are some 40,000 PIOs in Sumatra, the vast majority are now completely assimilated in Indonesian society, though some elements of the Tamil, Sikh and Bihari Communities still maintain their cultural traditions.

The Indian Diaspora also includes several thousand Sindhi families who constitute the second wave of Indian immigrants who made Indonesia their home in the first half of the 20th century. The Sindhi community is mainly engaged in trading and commerce.

Among these communities, Tamils and to a lesser extent Sikhs were primarily engaged in agriculture while Sindhis and Punjabis mainly established themselves in textile trade and sports business.

The inflow of major Indian investments in Indonesia starting in the late 1970s drew a fresh wave of Indian investors and managers to this country. This group of entrepreneurs and business professionals has further expanded over the past two decades and now includes engineers, consultants, chartered accountants, bankers and other professionals.

The Indian community is very well regarded in Indonesia, is generally prosperous and includes individuals holding senior positions in local and multinational companies.

Due to economic factors, most traders and businessmen among PIOs have over past decades moved to Jakarta from outlying areas such as Medan and Surabaya. Almost half the Indian Community in Indonesia is now Jakarta-based; it is estimated that the population of Jakarta's Indian community is about 19,000. There are six main social or professional associations in Jakarta's Indian PIO/NRI community. Gandhi Seva Loka (formerly known as Bombay Merchants Association) is a charitable institution run by the Sindhi community and is engaged mainly in educational and social activities. The India Club is a social organization of PIO/NRI professionals. An Indian Women’s Association brings together PIO/NRI spouses and undertakes charitable activities. There is a Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee in Jakarta and Sindhis as well as Sikhs are associated with Gurudwara activities The Economic Association of Indonesia and India (ECAII) brings together leading entrepreneurs from the Indian community with the objective of promoting bilateral economic relations, but has been largely inactive. Finally, there is the Indonesian Chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

In Madagascar

Indians in Madagascarmarker are descended mostly from traders who arrived in 19th century looking for better opportunities. The majority of them came from the west coast of Indian state of Gujaratmarker known as Karana (Muslim) and Banian (Hindu). The majority speak Gujarati, though some other Indian languages are spoken. Nowadays the younger generations speak at least three languages including, French or English, Gujarati and Malagasy. A large number of Indians are highly educated in Madagascar, particularly the younger generation, who try to contribute their knowledge to the development of Madagascar.

In Malaysia

Malaysia has some of the largest overseas Chinese and overseas Indian populations outside of Chinamarker and Indiamarker. Most Indians migrated to Malaysia as plantation laborers under British rule. They are a significant minority ethnic group, making up 8% of the Malaysian population. Most of these are Tamil but some Malayalam- and Telugu- speaking people are also present. They have retained their languages and religion—80% of ethnic Indians in Malaysia identify as Hindus. Hinduism in Malaysia diverges from mainstream (post-Vedantic) Hinduism: its main feature is Mother-goddess (Ammanmarker) worship; caste deities, tantric rituals, folk beliefs, non-Agamic temples, and animal sacrifice are its other characteristics. Deepavali and Thaipusam are the main festivals and are national holidays along with other festive seasons like Chinese New Year and Christmas. However, there is an increase in agamic worship in Malaysia, due to the efforts of the Malaysian Hindu Sangam and several notable Hindu organisations in Malaysia.

There is also a small community of Indian origin, the Chitty, who are the descendants of Tamil traders who had emigrated before 1500 AD, and Chinese and Malay locals. Considering themselves Tamil, speaking Malay, and practicing Hinduism, the Chittys number about 2000 today.

In Mauritius

Outside of India itself, Mauritius is the only country where people of Indian Origin form the vast majority (not including Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago where Afro-Trinidadians and Indo-Trinidadians have equal populations, or Fiji where the Indo-Fijians once formed the majority but not today). The people are known as Indo-Mauritians, and form about 70% of the population. The majority of them are Hindu (77%) and a significant group are Muslims (22%). There are also some Christians, Bahá'ís and Sikhs, but the Bahá'ís and Sikh populations do not add up to even 1% of the population. Various Indian languages are still spoken, especially Bhojpuri, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Hindi and Urdu, but most Indo-Mauritians now speak a French-based Creole language at home, as well as French in general fields. Finding an Indo-Mauritian who exclusively speaks an Indian language is very rare.

In the Middle East

There is a huge population of Indians in the Middle East, most coming from Kerala and other south Indian states, especially in the oil rich countries neighboring the Persian Gulfmarker. Most moved to the Gulf after the oil boom to work as labourers and for clerical jobs. Indians - all foreigners, in fact - in the Gulf do not normally become citizens however. They retain their Indian passports since most of the countries in the Gulf do not provide citizenship or permanent residency. One of the major reasons why Indians like to work in the Gulf is because it provides incomes many times over for the same type of job back in India and its geographical proximity to India. The Indian Diaspora makes up a good proportion of the working class in the GCC. In 2005, about 40% of the population in the United Arab Emiratesmarker were of Indian descent.

The Gulf Cooperation Council states include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman. NRI population in these Gulf Cooperation Council countries is estimated to be around 6,000,000 (2006-2007), of which over 1,500,000 stay in the UAE. Majority of them originate from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. NRI population tends to save and remit considerable amount to their dependents in India. It is estimated such remittances may be over USD 10 billion per annum (including remittances by formal and informal channels in 2005-2006). (Source: Research by S.Kadwe, 2007).

In New Zealand

Indians began to arrive in New Zealandmarker in the late eighteenth century, mostly as crews on British ships. A small number deserted; the earliest known Indian resident of New Zealand was living with a Māori wife in the Bay of Islandsmarker in 1815. Numbers slowly increased through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, despite a law change in 1899 which was designed to keep out people who were not of 'British birth and parentage'. As in many other countries, Indians in New Zealand dispersed throughout the country and had a high rate of small business ownership, particularly fruit and vegetable shops and convenience stores. At this stage most Indian New Zealanders originated from Gujarat. Changes in immigration policy in the 1980s allowed many more Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis into the country, and the 1987 and 2000 military coups in Fijimarker caused a large increase in the number of Fijian Indians coming to New Zealand. Notable Indian New Zealanders include former Dunedinmarker mayor Sukhi Turner, cricketer Dipak Patel, singer Aaradhna, and current Governor General Anand Satyanand.

In the Philippines

There are approximately 38,000 and more Indians and Indian Filipinos who are PIOs/NRIs as a whole living throughout the Philippines. Most are concentrated in Manila, Cebu, and Davao, and even in places like Zamboanga, and other major cities and small towns of the named 11 islands. Indians have been in the Philippines from the 4th century A.D. to the 17th century A.D. Making Hinduism and mixture of Buddhism the main religions before the onset of Islam and Catholicism by the Arabs and Indonesians, and later by the Spaniards.

Indians from Chennaimarker, Tamil Nadumarker, Indiamarker also came with the British expedition against Manila that took the city from the Spaniards and occupied Manila and the area around Cainta and Rizal between 1762 and 1763. Many of them refused to leave, mutinied and married local Filipino women, which explains why many Filipinos around Cainta, Rizal are Indian descendants. Many Indians have intermarried with Filipinos, more so than in neighboring countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, mainly because their populations are largely Muslim, and the Indians there are adverse to marrying Muslims in those host countries. During the 1930s and 1940s, many Indians and Indian Filipinos lived in Filipino provinces, including Davao, which at the time had, and still have, many Japanese and Japanese Filipinos. When the economy of the Philippines were based in Manila, many moved there, which explains why today half of the Indian and Indian Filipino community are now based there.

Most of the Indians and Indian Filipinos in the Philippines are Sindhi and Punjabi, but there is also a large Tamil population as well. Many are fluent in Tagalog and English, as well as the local language of the provinces and islands. Many are prosperous middle and higher class with their main occupations in clothing sales and marketing. Sikhs are involved largely in finance, and sales and marketing. Most of the Indians and Indian Filipinos are Hindu and Sikh, but have assimilated into Filipino culture and some are Catholic. There is a main Hindu and Sikh temple in Manila, and all over the Philippine provinces as well.

In Réunion

Indian Tamils make up a quarter of Réunion's population, the second largest group after creole. Most originally came as indentured workers from South India.

In Singapore

Indians in Singapore – defined as persons of South Asian paternal ancestry – form 10% of the country's citizens and permanent residents, making them Singaporemarker's third largest ethnic group. Among cities, Singapore has one of the largest overseas Indian populations.

Although contact with ancient India left a deep cultural impact on Singapore's indigenous Malay society, the mass migration of ethnic Indians to the island only began with the founding of modern Singapore by the British in 1819. Initially, the Indian population was transient, mainly comprising young men who came as workers, soldiers and convicts. By the mid-20th century, a settled community had emerged, with a more balanced gender ratio and a better spread of age groups.

Singapore's Indian population is notable for its class stratification, with disproportionately large elite and lower income groups. This long-standing problem has grown more visible since the 1990s with an influx of both well-educated and unskilled migrants from India, and as part of growing income inequality in Singapore. Indians earn higher incomes than Malays, the other major minority group. Indians are also significantly more likely to hold university degrees than these groups. However, the mainly locally-born Indian students in public primary and secondary schools under-perform the national average at major examinations.

Singapore Indians are linguistically and religiously diverse, with Sikhs and Hindus forming small majorities. Indian culture has endured and evolved over almost 200 years. By the mid to late 20th century, it had become somewhat distinct from contemporary South Asian cultures, even as Indian elements became diffused within a broader Singaporean culture. Since the 1990s, new Indian immigrants have increased the size and complexity of the local Indian population. Together with modern communications like cable television and the internet, this has connected Singapore with an emerging global Indian culture.

Prominent Indian individuals have long made a mark in Singapore as leaders of various fields in national life. Indians are also collectively well represented, and sometimes over-represented, in areas such as politics, education, diplomacy and the law.There is also a small community of Indian origin, the Chitty, who are the descendants of Tamil traders who had emigrated before 1500 AD, and Chinese and Malay locals. Considering themselves Tamil, speaking Malay, and practicing Hinduism, the Chittys number about 2000 today.

In South Africa

Most Asians in South Africa are descended from indentured Indian labourers who were brought by the British from India in the 19th century, mostly to work in the sugar cane plantations of what is now the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). A minority are descended from Indian traders who migrated to South Africa at around the same time, many from the Gujarat area. The city of Durbanmarker has the largest Asian population in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi worked as a lawyer in the city in the early 1900s. South Africa in fact has the largest population of people of Indian descent outside of India in the world, i.e. born in South Africa and not migrant, compared to the U.S. Most of them are fourth to fifth generation descent. Also, in the Natal area alone, there has been over 20 temples built over the last 140 years of indenture, as stated by the Sun Newspaper. They mainly belong to the Hindu and Muslim religious groupings. World famous Muslim Scholar, charismatic public speaker Shaikh Ahmed Deedat was from South Africa. Ahmed Deedat was born in Gujarat and migrated to Durban with his family. Most Indian South Africans do not speak the Indian languages which were 'lost' over the generations, although they do enjoy watching Indian movies and listening to Indian music.

In the UK

The Indian emigrant community in the United Kingdom is now in its third generation. As an immigrant group, people of Indian origin have been remarkably successful. Indians in the UK are the largest community outside of Asia proportionally, and the second largest in terms of population, only surpassed by the United Statesmarker, and closely followed by Canadamarker.

Indian culture has been constantly referenced within the wider British culture, at first as an "exotic" influence in films like My Beautiful Laundrette, but now increasingly as a familiar feature in films like Bend It Like Beckham. Indian food is now regarded as part of the British cuisine.

According to the April 2001 UK National CensusThere are 1,051,800 people of Indian origin in the UK. Sikhs comprise 45% of the population, Hindus 29%, Muslims 13%, Christians nearly 5%, with the remainder made up of Jains (15,000), Parsis (Zoroastrians), Buddhists and those who stated no religion. 2005 estimates state 2.41% of England's population as being Indian (not including mixed race), which would be around 1,215,400 (see Demographics of England). Following the continuous trend (including those of mixed Indian ancestry), in 2008 there are likely to be well over 1,600,000 Indian people in the UK.

In the US

Indian immigration to North America started as early as 1890s. A Sikh-Canadians community has existed in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, for over 100 years. Hindus from Indiamarker started to settle after the government built the first mandir (Hindu temple). Many Sikhs living in Canada would often visit their homes in India and tell relatives what it was like. The stories would persuade the Hindus to move to North America and live there. In 1889 the first Hindu family arrived in America, the government built a mandir for the family, which attracted more and more Hindus. Soon after there were many mandirs placed around the country. But Sikhs were not allowed to build a temple as the government said 'as Sikhism was created from Hinduism the Sikhs would have to either pray at the mandirs or not pray at all' they said this as they did not want to waste money on another place of worship if there is already many. More that 75% of the Sikhs prayed at the mandirs, but about one hundred refused to as they wanted to be an individual religion with its own temples so they protested for almost 22 years which by this time (1911) the first gurdwara (Sikh temple) was built, not in America but in Canada, because the American government were occupied by the war in Japan and Europe. Today there are very few gurdwaras in America and many in Canada. Built in 1911, the first gurdwara on South Fraser Way in Abbotsford, is the oldest Sikh temple in North America.

Emigration to the U.S. also started in the late 19th and early 20th century, when Sikhs arriving in Vancouver found that the fact that they were subjects of the British Empire did not mean anything in the Empire (Canada) itself, and they were blatantly discriminated against. Some of these pioneers entered the U.S or landed in Seattlemarker and San Franciscomarker as the ships that carried them from Asia often stopped at these ports. Most of these immigrants were Sikhs from the Punjab region. They were referred to in the U.S. as Hindus (due to a common American misconception that everyone in India was a Hindu and also for want of a term that distinguished these immigrants from Native Americans who were then called Indians).

Asian women were restricted from immigrating, because the US government passed laws in 1917 at the behest of California and other states in the west, which had experienced a large influx of Chinese, Japanese and Indian immigrants during and after the gold rush. As a result, many of the South Asian men in California married Mexicanmarker women. A fair number of these families settled down in the Central Valley in California as farmers, and continue to this day. These early immigrants were denied voting rights, family re-unification and citizenship. In 1923 the Supreme Court of the United Statesmarker, in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, ruled that people from India (at the time, British India, e.g. South Asians) were ineligible for citizenship. Thind became a citizen a few years later in New Yorkmarker. Bhagat Singh Thind was a Sikh from Indiamarker who settled in Oregonmarker; he had earlier applied for citizenship and been rejected in Oregonmarker..

After World War II, US immigration policy changed to allow family re-unification for people of non-white origin after being banned for almost half a century. In addition, Asians were allowed to become citizens and to vote. A large number of the men who arrived before the 1940s were finally able to bring their families to the USmarker; most of them settled in Californiamarker and other west coast states.

Another wave of Indian immigrants entered the U.S. in the 50's, 60's, 1970s and 1980s. A large proportion of them were Sikhs joining their family members under the new color-blind immigration laws, and professionals or students that came from all over India. The Cold War created a need for engineers in the defense and aerospace industries, many of whom came from India. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, Gujarati arrived as well as South Indians. Although the South Indians do not outnumber the Punjabi Sikhs, Gujaratis did surpass the population of Punjabi Sikhs. Overall Gujaratis and Punjabis are the most prominent groups of Indian origin. The most recent and probably the largest wave of immigration to date occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000 during the internet boom. As a result, Indians in the U.S. are now one of the largest among the groups of Indian diaspora with an estimated population of about 2.7 million. In contrast to the earliest groups of Indians who entered the US workforce as taxi drivers, laborers, farmers or small business owners, the later arrivals often came as professionals or completed graduate study here and moved into the professions. They have become very successful financially thanks to the hi-tech industry, and are thus probably the most well-off community of immigrants. They are well represented in all walks of life, but particularly so in academia, information technology and medicine. There were over 4,000 PIO professors and 84,000 Indian-born students in American universities in 2007-08. The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin boasts a membership of 35,000. In 2000, Fortune magazine estimated the wealth generated by Indian Silicon Valleymarker entrepreneurs at around $250 billion.

Though the Indian diaspora in the US is largely concentrated in metropolitan areas such as Philadelphiamarker, Atlantamarker, Chicagomarker, Dallasmarker, Los Angelesmarker, New Yorkmarker, San Franciscomarker, Detroitmarker, and Houstonmarker, almost every state in the US has a community of Indians.


Continent / Country Articles Overseas Indian Population Percentage of Local Population
Africa 2,800,000+
Indian South Africans,
Asians in South Africa
1,300,000 2.7%
Indo-Mauritian 855,000 68.3%
(Francemarker) Indo-Réunionnaise 220,000 28%
Indians in Kenya 100,000 0.3%
Indians in Tanzania 90,000 0.2%
Indians in Uganda 90,000 0.3%
Indians in Madagascar 28,000 0.15%
Indian Language School 25,000 0.02%
Indians in Mozambique 21,000 0.1%
20,000 0.34%
Indians in Zimbabwe 16,000 0.1%
Indians in Botswana 9,000 0.5%
Indians in Zambia 6,000 0.05%
Indo-Seychellois 5,000 6.2%
3,800 0.017%
1,753 0.04%
300 0.0017%
110 0.005%
Asia 9,800,000+
4,000,000 14.7%
Malaysian Indian, Chitty, Tamil diaspora 2,400,000 8.7%
Burmese Indians, Myanmar Indian Muslims,
2,000,000 4.2%
Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka (as opposed to native Sri Lankan Tamils) 850,000 4.4%
Indian Singaporean, Tamil diaspora 320,000 6.6%
Indians in Thailand 65,000 0.1%
South Asians in Hong Kong, Indians in Hong Kong 40,000 0.6%
South Asians in the Philippines 38,000 0.04%
Indian Indonesian, Tamil diaspora 25,000 0.01%
20,589 0.02%
9,000 3.1%
7,600 2%
2,700 0.006%
1,500 0.07%
1,200 0.08%
1,000 0.003%
700 0.003%
700 0.014%
Indians in Vietnam 320 0.0004%
300 0.002%
125 0.002%
100 0.002%
Middle East 4,200,000+
Hinduism in Arab states 1,500,000 6.1%
Indians in the United Arab Emirates 1,300,000 31.7%
580,000 21.6%
450,000 17.5%
150,000 19%
125,000 15.7%
Indians in Israel, Indian Jews 45,000 0.7%
11,000 0.27%
9,000 0.04%
1,800 0.009%
Indians in Iran 800 0.001%
300 0.0004%
Europe 1,768,834
British Indian 1,200,000 2%
Hindoestanen 215,000 1.3%
Indians in Italy 71,500 0.1%
Indians in Portugal 70,000 0.66%
Indo French 65,000 0.1%
Indians in Germany 35,000 0.04%
Indian community of Spain 29,000 0.07%
16,044 0.01%
13,500 0.2%
11,945 0.15%
11,000 0.1%
Indians in Belgium 7,000 0.07%
7,000 0.06%
5,630 0.1%
3,500 0.007%
2,500 0.046%
1,600 0.04%
1,200 0.0055%
1,170 0.02%
825 0.002%
300 0.24%
100 0.002%
20 0.0003%
North America 4,500,000+
Indian American, Indo-Caribbean American,
South Asian American
2,765,815 0.9%
Indo-Canadian, Tamil Canadians 962,665 2.9%
Indo-Trinidadian, Indo-Caribbean 525,000 40.2%
Indo-Jamaican, Indo-Caribbean 90,000 3.4%
(Francemarker) Indo-Guadeloupean, Indo-Caribbean 55,000 13.6%
Indo-Caribbean 34,000 0.3%
Indo-Caribbean 21,500 19.7%
Indo-Grenadians, Indo-Caribbean 12,000 11.7%
Indians in Panama 9,000 0.3%
Indo-Caribbean 4,700 2.8%
(United Statesmarker) Asian Latin American 4,500 0.1%
Indians in Barbados, Indo-Caribbean 2,200 0.8%
Indo-Caribbean 1,100 2.6%
(Netherlandsmarker) Indo-Caribbean 600 0.3%
Indo-Caribbean, Indians in Belize, Asian Latin American 500 0.2%
400 0.0004%
Indo-Caribbean 300 0.4%
South America 510,000+
Indo-Guyanese 327,000 43.5%
Hindoestanen 175,000 38.7%
1,900 0.001%
Asian Latin American 1,600 0.004%
Asian Latin American, Indo-Caribbean 690 0.0026%
650 0.004%
Asian Latin American 145 0.0005%
Asian Latin American 40-50 0.001%
Asian Latin American 20 0.00004%
Oceania 600,000+
Indians in Fiji 340,000 40.1%
Indian Australian 235,000 1.1%
Indo Kiwi 105,000 2.6%
Total Overseas Indian Population ~24,000,000

See also


  3. The History and Origin of the Roma
  4. The Indian Diaspora In Russia
  6. Book1
  8. Indians in Te Ara: the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand:
  10. 1.6 million Indians in the UK
  14. Where big can be bothersome. The Hindu. January 07, 2001.
  15. Overseas Indian Population 2001. Little India.
  16. Data for 2001. From Lal, Brij V. (Gen. ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Indian Diaspora. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2006, p.144
  17. Indian Diaspora in the Philippines
  22. A microcosm of India in the heart of oil-rich Kuwait
  23. Indians in Israel
  27. Indian population growth
  31. Asian Indian Population Estimates United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 June 2009
  32. Ethnic origins, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data
  38. [1]
  39. [2]

External links

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