The BoI maintains data on Indians’ departure and arrival by capturing the purpose of travel manually. According to MHA, “It is based either on their (passengers’) verbal disclosure or the type of visa of the destination country produced by them at the time of according immigration clearance.”
Nearly 40% of all travellers this year — more than 72 lakh — left the country for ‘residency’, while 71 lakh were tourists or went out on visits. Over 21 lakh Indians left the shores for employment while other travellers included those who went on pilgrimage, medical treatment and so on.
At nearly 6.5 lakh, those going out for education were the only category of travellers whose number exceeded the pre-pandemic levels. “While the numbers of students travelling in the last two years were low, a lot of Indians had enrolled in foreign educational institutions, many of whom left India this year. The number will further increase,” an immigration expert said.
In 2021, more than 4.4 lakh students left India, better than 2020 (around 2.6 lakh). In the three years before the two Covid years, more than 5.8 lakh (2019), around 5.2 lakh (2018) and 4.5 lakh (2018) people left India for education.
Overall, between January 2017 and November 2022, over 10.3 crore Indians travelled abroad, of whom more than 3.8 crore left seeking residency, 2.4 crore were tourists and 1.6 crore went on visits.
The number of people travelling for employment stood at 1.2 crore, while 51.6 lakh people left the country to set up businesses outside.
Separate data from the MEA shows that in the same period, more than 8.4 lakh Indians renounced their citizenship in favour of citizenships of other countries.
After a significant dip in 2020, when only 85,256 people gave up citizenship, the number jumped to 1.6 lakh in 2021, about 14% more than the 1.4 lakh in 2019. In the first 10 months of this year, over 1.8 lakh people have given up Indian citizenship, which is nearly 28% more than the figure in 2019. Comparatively, India granted citizenship to 546 people in these years with 2022 reporting only 60.