|Authors||Philippe FARGUES, Kathryn LUM|
The rise of India as an increasingly important economic and strategic partner brings a range of potential benefits to the European Union. However, while the EU is currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with India that will potentially open up India´s burgeoning market, many of its Member States are ´missing the boat´ when it comes to exploiting the full potential of Indian migration to the EU. Indian migration to Europe has a long history: a number of EU member states have historical colonial links with India, including Portugal, France, the Netherlands and the UK. These early Indian migrants settled successfully into their respective countries, and many have played leading roles in contributing to EU national economies. The current migration situation is much more complex, in large part because India is still not viewed as an important migration source country. Yet, as this report highlights, India constitutes the fourth largest country of origin for migration to the EU. The Indian student market is the second largest in the world after China´s, and represents great potential for European universities seeking to internationalise their student intake. Highly skilled workers from India, particularly from the IT industry, have made Indian nationals the largest recipient of highly skilled visas in Germany and the Netherlands. Among low-skilled workers, there are also success stories to be told. Contrary to the common migration myth that low-skilled workers are not needed, and even worse, steal jobs from native citizens, this report shows how low-skilled workers from India have successfully integrated into local economies without threatening local jobs. Finally, this report on Indian migration to the EU provides a roadmap for future strategic directions for the India-EU relationship. Given the growing importance of EU-India relations, it is vital that migration issues are also on the table. With political will, finding migration solutions that satisfy both India and the EU can hopefully be negotiated over the next five years.