New Delhi: Over six lakh Indians have given up their citizenship in the past five years, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. This data was supported by the information available with the Ministry of External Affairs.
He was responding to a question and submitted a written reply as well. According to the data, the following is the number of people who gave up their citizenship each year since 2017. The data for 2021, this year, was only available till September 10.
According to the data, the highest number of people gave up their Indian citizenship in 2019, whereas the lowest did in 2020. The latter’s low rate can be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic. 2021 saw the steepest spike in Indians giving up their citizenship as worldwide travel and outdoor restrictions started to ease.
About 40% of the citizenship renunciation requests come from the United States, followed by Australia and Canada, which amount to a chunk of around 30% of such requests.
Nevertheless, this sustained desire to leave the country, even if it meant giving up Indian citizenship, runs counter to what the Modi government promised to achieve in 2014—a conducive environment in the country that draws talent and reverses the brain-drain.
In the US alone, the most number of H-1B visa applications nearly two-thirds continue to come from Indians.
It may also have something to do with the Indian passport’s being globally unattractive.
Why do Indians give up their citizenship?
Majority of the Indians do it because of the privileges they get using the passports of other countries. India stands at the 69th number on the passport power rank according to the world passport index. When comparing it with other countries – the rank of Australia is 3rd, USA is 5th, Singapore is 6th and Canada is 7th. At the top are UAE on number 1 and New Zealand on number 2.
The higher the passport index ranking, the better access they get to travel visa-free to many countries. They are also exempted from bureaucratic delays in the immigration process which is beneficial for traders and businessmen.
When comparing the number of people giving up their citizenship it with the ones in USA, the numbers are extremely far apart. 2020 saw a record rise of people giving up their US citizenship with 6,705 renunciations that year.