Making your way to the country of your origin if you are now a foreign national

2 min

The world is seeing a large number of migrants, travelling from one country to the other in search of work and the possibility of a better life. The world currently has about 272 million international migrants, away from their homes which tallies to about 3.5% of its population. Most of these migrants, if they have not migrated with their family, end up sending large parts of their income to their families, seen as remittance for their respective countries. While most people leave their home countries to work abroad, millions have been driven away due to internal or external conflict in their countries, violence and climate change. The highest number of people migrating are from India and are usually heading to America.

With such a large number of migrants in other countries, remittances to India stood at US$69 billion in 2017, while Pakistan, on the other hand, received remittances amounting to$13 billion, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan. With amounts as large as these, it made sense for the countries to work on a system to bring foreign nationals of origin to these countries back home.

How are people of Indian origin making their way home?

India does not have a system of dual citizenship since it is not allowed according to the rules in the Indian Constitution. However, India has a diaspora of 17.5 million in most parts of the world. The OCI Card was introduced since the Indian diaspora was pushing for dual citizenship, particularly in developed countries. It was introduced by The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005 in August 2005.

Now foreign nationals from any part of the world can apply for their OCI card through Indian Missions existing in almost all countries if they can prove their origins to the subcontinent. After submitting all the documentation, if everything checks out, they receive one in thirty days. The OCI card allows these foreign nationals to travel back and forth without having to apply for a visa throughout the process. Additionally, while they are in India, they can choose to stay for as long as they want.

How are people of Pakistani origin making their way home?

Pakistan has a slightly different system called the National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis. This Computerized National Identity Card is issued to workers, emigrants, citizens, or Pakistanis holding dual nationality. The Pakistani Government, through an autonomous agency, came about with the idea in 2002 as a project of mutual resolve between the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation, the Ministry of Labour & Manpower, and the Ministry of Interior which was very useful for the 8.8 million Pakistanis living abroad.

Foreign nationals with roots to Pakistan have to carry this NICOP card along with their passport and can enter and leave Pakistan without worrying about applying and getting a visa. These can also be applied for from any part of the world, and they take 30-day processing time.

How are people of Bangladeshi origin making their way home?

Most of the people from Bangladesh who travel abroad to work end up working as gardeners, construction workers, janitors and maids. There are a significant number of people who also end up working higher on the corporate ladder. On average, the Bangladeshi migrant earns they earn

$400 a month, which is a lot more than they’d make at home. In 2018, Bangladeshi migrants sent back to their country $15 billion in remittances.

Bangladesh did not follow the same system using cards but started a system where they used stamps. The No Visa Required Stamp was added to foreign passports belonging to people with roots in Bangladesh, allowing them to travel back and forth without worrying about a visa. The

NVR Seal will soon be changed to a vignette for various security reasons. Additionally, these did not have validity and lasted as long as the passport.

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