Thousands of illegal migrants from developed nations disappear in India
I knew that we have illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and I had also heard of some from developing countries staying on without a visa, but what surprised me was the number.
Out of the 1.5 lakh immigrants, 10,000 people ( from developed countries like the US, UK, Japan and Germany) have stayed on illegally in India – from 2003 to 2005. And all these guys and girls can be counted because they came to India on valid papers, mostly tourist visas. The maximum number of these migrants (2600) are Americans.
The Home Ministry, which released the figures recently, is apparently puzzled as economic migration cannot account for this phenomena. I don’t see why this is puzzling. The government knows that many of these people head for Goa and other tourist locations in Himachal Pradesh and the Uttarkhand…and if these people stay on it’s because they are relaxing and enjoying life.
I remember when I was studying in Pune at the height of the Rajneesh fever, a fair number of the foreign nationals who had congregated there were illegal immigrants and hippies. They were often from well to do families…or at least had enough money to last in India for quite a while. In fact a few years ago me and my husband met an English guy in Goa called Tom and he told us he was going to stay on in India forever as the tiny pension he gets suffices him here and allows him to lead a fairly comfortable life. In the UK he would be poor.
There are any number of quiet places in the hills which would welcome any foreigner with money and would never question the legality of his stay. There are also many ashrams which many of the foreign nationals frequent for a bit of peace and quiet. It is also possible that some of these nationals are running from something in their home country…maybe even the police. Who knows? I can’t help thinking of that Australian guy Gregory Roberts of Shantaram fame. He was a convict and had stayed on in a Mumbai slum for years without being caught.
(Pic sourced from fascinatingvacations)
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