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) is usually a person of Indian origin who is not a citizen of India. For the purposes of issuing a PIO Card, the Indian government considers anyone of Indian origin up to four generations removed, to be a PIO. [4] Spouses of people entitled to a PIO card in their own right can also carry PIO cards. This latter category includes foreign spouses of Indian nationals, regardless of ethnic origin. PIO Cards exempt holders from many restrictions applying to foreign nationals, such as visa and work permit requirements, along with certain other economic limitations.The NRI and PIO population across the world is estimated at over 30 million (not including Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan diasporas).As of January 2006[5], The Indian government has introduced the "Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)" scheme in order to allow a limited form of dual citizenship to Indians, NRIs and PIOs for the first time since independence in 1947. It is expected that the PIO Card scheme will be phased out in coming years in favour of OCI.HistoryThe most significant historical emigration from India was that of the Romani people.[6] Around the eleventh century, Central Asian invaders in the subcontinent took many Indians as captives to Afghanistan. These people then went to Iran and other parts of the Middle East as wandering court musicians. They gradually became a class of their own, wandering to Europe, where they were known as the Gypsies (based on the legend of their origins lying in Egypt). They adopted local religions such as Christianity and Islam, but combined some of their Hindu practices with the new faiths. The cult of the Romani Christian saint Kali Sarah may have been a Christianization of the Hindu goddess Kali. They also speak a distinct Indo-Aryan language of their own, Romani. The Romani people are a widely dispersed ethnic group, with the largest concentrated populations in Europe and the Americas.[7]Another major emigration from the subcontinent was to South East Asia. It started as a military expedition by Hindu, and later Buddhist, kings of South India and resulted in the settlers' merging with the local society. The Cholas, who were known for their naval power, conquered Sumatra and Malay Peninsula. The influence of Indian culture is still strongly felt in South East Asia, especially in places like Bali (in Indonesia). In such cases, it is not reasonable to apply the label 'PIO' to the descendants of emigrants from several centuries back. Intermixture has been so great as to negate the value of such nomenclature in this context.The Indian merchant diaspora in Central Asia and Persia emerged in the mid-16th century and remained active for over four centuries. Astrakhan at the mouth of the Volga was the first place in Tsardom of Russia where an Indian merchant colony was established as early as the 1610s. Russian chroniclers reported the presence of Hindu traders in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the 18th century.[8]ndian trader's family in Bagamoyo, German East Africa, around 1906/18.During the 19th century and until the end of the Raj, much of the migration that occurred was of poor workers to other British colonies under the indenture system. The major destinations, in chronological order, were Mauritius, Guyana, the Caribbean, Fiji and East Africa. There was also a small amount of free emigration of skilled labourers and professionals to some of these countries in the twentieth century. The event that triggered this diaspora was the Slavery Abolition Act passed by the British Parliament on August 1, 1834, which freed the slave labour force throughout the British colonies. This left many of the plantations devoid of adequate work force as the newly freed slaves left to take advantage of their freedom. This resulted in an extreme shortage of labour throughout many of the British colonies which was resolved by a massive importation of workers engaged under contracts of indentured servitude. Workers were willing to migrate because of poverty at home.An unrelated system involved recruitment of workers for the tea plantations of the neighbouring British colonies of Sri Lanka and Burma and the rubber plantations of British Malaya (now Malaysia and Singapore).After the 1970s oil boom in the Middle East, numerous Indians emigrated for work to the Gulf countries. With modern transportation and expectations, this was on a contractual basis rather than permanent as in the 19th century cases. These Gulf countries have a common policy of not naturalizing non-Arabs, even if they are born there.The 1990s software boom and rising economy in the USA attracted numerous Indians who emigrated to the United States of America. Today, the USA has the third largest number of Indians.[edit] PIOs today[edit] Indians in the USMain article: Indian AmericanIndian immigration to North America started as early as 1890s. A Sikh-Canadians community has existed in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, for over 100 years. Hindus from India started to settle after the government built the first mandir (Hindu temple). Many Sikhs living in Canada would often visit their homes in India and tell relatives what it was like. The stories would persuade the Hindus to move to North America and live there. In 1889 the first Hindu family arrived in America, the government built a mandir for the family, which attracted more and more Hindus. Soon after there were many mandirs placed around the country. But Sikhs were not allowed to build a temple as the government said 'as Sikhism was created from Hinduism the Sikhs would have to either pray at the mandirs or not pray at all' they said this as they did not want to waste money on another place of worship if there is already many. More that 75% of the Sikhs prayed at the mandirs, but about one hundred refused to as they wanted to be an individual religion with its own temples so they protested for almost 22 years which by this time (1911) the first gurdwara (Sikh temple) was built, not in America but in Canada, because the American government were occupied by the war in Japan and Europe. Today there are very few gurdwaras in America and many in Canada. Built in 1911, the first gurdwara on South Fraser Way in Abbotsford, is the oldest Sikh temple in North America.Emigration to the U.S. also started in the late 19th and early 20th century, when Sikhs arriving in Vancouver found that the fact that they were subjects of the British Empire did not mean anything in the Empire (Canada) itself, and they were blatantly discriminated against. Some of these pioneers entered the U.S or landed in Seattle and San Francisco as the ships that carried them from Asia often stopped at these ports. Most of these immigrants were Sikhs from the Punjab region. They were referred to in the U.S. as Hindus (due to a common American misconception that everyone in India was a Hindu and also for want of a term that distinguished these immigrants from Native Americans who were then called Indians).Asian women were restricted from immigrating, because the US government passed laws in 1917 at the behest of California and other states in the west, which had experienced a large influx of Chinese, Japanese and Indian immigrants during and after the gold rush. As a result, many of the South Asian men in California married Mexican women. A fair number of these families settled down in the Central Valley in California as farmers, and continue to this day. These early immigrants were denied voting rights, family re-unification and citizenship. In 1923 the Supreme Court of the United States, in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, ruled that people from India (at the time, British India, e.g. South Asians) were ineligible for citizenship. Thind became a citizen a few years later in New York. Bhagat Singh Thind was a Sikh from India who settled in Oregon; he had earlier applied for citizenship and been rejected in Oregon.[9].In 2007, Bobby Jindal became the first United States Governor of Indian descent when he was overwhelmingly elected Governor of Louisiana.After World War II, US immigration policy changed to allow family re-unification for people of non-white origin after being banned for almost half a century. In addition, Asians were allowed to become citizens and to vote. A large number of the men who arrived before the 1940s were finally able to bring their families to the US; most of them settled in California and other west coast states.Another wave of Indian immigrants entered the U.S. in the 50's, 60's, 1970s and 1980s. A large proportion of them were Sikhs joining their family members under the new color-blind immigration laws, and professionals or students that came from all over India. The Cold War created a need for engineers in the defense and aerospace industries, many of whom came from India. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, Gujarati arrived as well as South Indians. Although the South Indians do not outnumber the Punjabi Sikhs, Gujaratis did surpass the population of Punjabi Sikhs. Overall Gujaratis and Punjabis are the most prominent groups of Indian origin. The most recent and probably the largest wave of immigration to date occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000 during the internet boom. As a result, Indians in the U.S. are now one of the largest among the groups of Indian diaspora, numbering about 3 million. In contrast to the earliest groups of Indians who entered the US workforce as taxi drivers, laborers, farmers or small business owners, the later arrivals often came as professionals or completed graduate study here and moved into the professions. They have become very successful financially thanks to the hi-tech industry, and are thus probably the most well-off community of immigrants. They are well represented in all walks of life, but particularly so in academia, information technology and medicine. There were over 4,000 PIO professors and 84,000 Indian-born students in American universities in 2007-08. The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin boasts a membership of 35,000. In 2000, Fortune magazine estimated the wealth generated by Indian Silicon Valley entrepreneurs at around $250 billion.Though the Indian diaspora in the US is largely concentrated in metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Detroit and Houston, almost every state in the US has a community of Indians.[edit] Indians in the UKMain article: British IndianMain article: Indian community of LondonFreddie Mercury, lead singer and co-founder of the immensely successful rock band Queen, was of Parsi descent and grew up in India.The Indian emigrant community in the United Kingdom is now in its third generation. As an immigrant group, people of Indian origin have been remarkably successful.[neutrality disputed] Indians in the UK are the largest community outside of Asia percentage-wise, and the second largest population-wise, only surpassed by the United States.Indian culture has been constantly referenced within wider British culture, at first as an "exotic" influence in films like My Beautiful Laundrette, but now increasingly as a familiar feature in films like Bend It Like Beckham. Indian food is now regarded as part of the British cuisine.According to the April 2001 UK National Census [10] There are 1,051,800 people of Indian origin in the UK. Hindus comprise 45% of the population, Sikhs 29%, Muslims 13%, Christians nearly 5%, with the remainder made up of Jains (15,000), Parsis (Zoroastrians), Buddhists and those who stated no religion. 2005 Estimates state 2.41% of England's population as being Indian (not inc. mixed race), which is around 1,215,400 (see Demographics of England). Following continuous trend (including those of mixed Indian ancestry), in 2008 there are likely to be well over 1,600,000 Indian people in the UK.[11]According to Statistics Canada, in 2006 there were 962,665 people who classified themselves as being of Indian origin, including terms of “East Indian”, South Asian or Indo-Canadian. In addition, the term "Indian" is also widely applied to blacks and others from the Caribbean (West Indians). Out of this population, 42% are Hindu, 39% are Sikh, and the remainder are Muslim, Christian, Jain, Buddhist, or no religious affiliation. The main Indian ethnic communities are Punjabis (who account for more than half the population) as well as Gujaratis, Tamils (Indian as opposed to Sri Lankan), Indo-Caribbeans (numbering approximately 200,000), Keralites, Bengalis, Sindhis and others.The first known Indian settlers in Canada were Indian army soldiers who had passed through Canada in 1897 on their way back home from attending Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebration in London, England. Some are believed to have remained in British Columbia and others returned there later. Punjabi Indians were attracted to the possibilities for farming and forestry. They were mainly male Sikhs who were seeking work opportunities. Indo-Caribbeans, descendants of the Indian indentured workers who had gone to the Caribbean since 1838, made an early appearance in Canada with the arrival of the Trinidadian medical student Kenneth Mahabir and the Demerara (now Guyana) clerk M.N. Santoo, both in 1908.Deepa Mehta, Genie Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated Indo-Canadian film director and screenwriter.The first Indian immigrants in British Columbia allegedly faced widespread racism from the local white Canadians. Race riots targeted these immigrants, as well as new Chinese immigrants. Most decided to return to India, while a few stayed behind. The Canadian government prevented these men from bringing their wives and children until 1919, another reason why many of them chose to leave. Quotas were established to prevent many Indians from moving to Canada in the early 20th century. These quotas allowed fewer than 100 people from India a year until 1957, when the number was increased to 300. In 1967, all quotas were scrapped. Immigration was then based on a point system, thus allowing many more Indians to enter. Since this open-door policy was adopted, Indians continue to come in large numbers, and roughly 25,000-30,000 arrive each year (which now makes Indians the second highest group immigrating to Canada each year, after the Chinese).Most Indians choose to immigrate to larger urban centers like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, where more than 70% live. Smaller communities are also growing in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. Indians in Vancouver are from diverse locations in India, such as Punjab, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Little India. Indians in Vancouver mainly live in the suburb of Surrey, or nearby Abbotsford but can also be found in other parts of Vancouver. The vast majority of Vancouver Indians are of Sikh origin and have taken significant roles in politics and other professions, with several Supreme Court justices, three Attorneys General and one provincial premier hailing from the community.Amongst the many notables in the Indo Canadian diaspora there are the Hon Minister Harinder Takhar of the Ontario Legislature.[edit] Indians in SingaporeMain article: Indians in SingaporeThe current President of Singapore, S.R. Nathan, is of Indian descent.Indians in Singapore - defined as persons of South Asian paternal ancestry - form 10% of the country's citizens and permanent residents, making them Singapore's third largest ethnic group. Among cities, Singapore has the one of the largest overseas Indian populations.Although contact with ancient India left a deep cultural impact on Singapore's indigenous Malay society, the mass migration of ethnic Indians to the island only began with the founding of modern Singapore by the British in 1819. Initially, the Indian population was transient, mainly comprising young men who came as workers, soldiers and convicts. By the mid-20th century, a settled community had emerged, with a more balanced gender ratio and a better spread of age groups.Singapore’s Indian population is notable for its class stratification, with disproportionately large elite and lower income groups. This long standing problem has grown more visible since the 1990s with an influx of both well-educated and unskilled migrants from India, and as part of growing income inequality in Singapore. Indians earn incomes than Malays, the other major minority group. Indians are also significantly more likely to hold a university degree than these groups. However, the mainly locally-born Indian students in public primary and secondary schools underperform the national average at major examinations.Singapore Indians are linguistically and religiously diverse, with Sikhs and Hindus forming small majorities. Indian culture has endured and evolved over almost 200 years. By the mid to late 20th century, it had become somewhat distinct from contemporary South Asian cultures, even as Indian elements became diffused within a broader Singaporean culture. Since the 1990s, new Indian immigrants have increased the size and complexity of the local Indian population. Together with modern communications like cable television and the internet, this has connected Singapore with an emerging global Indian culture.Prominent Indian individuals have long made a mark in Singapore as leaders of various fields in national life. Indians are also collectively well represented, and sometimes over-represented, in areas such as politics, education, diplomacy and the law.[edit] Indians in MalaysiaMain articles: Indian Malaysian and ChittyCurrent World No. 1 of women's squash, Malaysia's Nicol David, is of Chindian descent.Malaysia has the largest overseas Chinese and overseas Indian groups outside China and India[citation needed]. Most Indians migrated to Malaysia as plantation laborers under British rule. They are a significant minority ethnic group, making up 8% of the Malaysian population. Most of these are Tamil but some Malayalam- and Telugu- speaking people are also present. They have retained their languages and religion—80% of ethnic Indians in Malaysia identify as Hindus. Hinduism in Malaysia diverges from mainstream (post-Vedantic) Hinduism: its main feature is Mother-goddess (Amman) worship; caste deities, tantric rituals, folk beliefs, non-Agamic temples, and animal sacrifice are its other characteristics. Deepavali and Thaipusam are the main festivals and are national holidays along with other festive seasons like Chinese New Year and Christmas. However, there is an increase in agamic worship in Malaysia, due to the efforts of the Malaysian Hindu Sangam and several notable Hindu organisations in Malaysia.There is also a small community of Indian origin, the Chitty, who are the descendants of Tamil traders who had emigrated before 1500 AD, and Chinese and Malay locals. Considering themselves Tamil, speaking Malay, and practicing Hinduism, the Chittys number about 2000 today.[edit] Indians in MauritiusMain article: Indo-Mauriestimated that the population of Jakarta's Indian community is about 19,000.[16] There are six main social or professional associations in Jakarta's Indian PIO/NRI community. Gandhi Seva Loka (formerly known as Bombay Merchants Association) is a charitable institution run by the Sindhi community and is engaged mainly in educational and social activities. The India Club is a social organization of PIO/NRI professionals. An Indian Women’s Association brings together PIO/NRI spouses and undertakes charitable activities. There is a Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee in Jakarta and Sindhis as well as Sikhs are associated with Gurudwara activities The Economic Association of Indonesia and India (ECAII) brings together leading entrepreneurs from the Indian community with the objective of promoting bilateral economic relations, but has been largely inactive. Finally, there is the Indonesian Chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants


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