India is the largest emigrant origin country in the world. The majority of Indian emigrants work in low-wage employment in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. This paper contrasts India’s policy responses directed at migrants living in the Gulf countries with policies targeted at those in the Global North. India has extended substantive rights and symbolic inclusion to Indian citizens and (descendants of) former citizens residing in the Global North. However, while it established a social protection framework for low-wage emigrants in the Gulf, these emigrants are often unable to access other substantive citizenship rights and are mostly ignored at the symbolic level. Through critical approaches to the study of diasporas and the lens of boundary work, this article analyzes how emigrant origin states (re-)define belonging through differentiated emigration and emigrant policies. It shows that the Indian state links inclusive/exclusive boundaries of (symbolic) national membership, inherent in emigration and emigrant policies, to classifications regarding emigrants’ social identities, in this case class and religion.
Mira Burmeister-Rudolph, “Policy differentiation and the politics of belonging in India’s emigrant and emigration policies“, Citizenship Studies, 2023.