Indians in the UK

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Barrister Cornelia Sorabji, who was the first Indian woman to study law at Oxford, making a radio broadcast in London circa 1931
Prince K S Ranjitsinhji, Maharaja Jam Sahib of Navanagar, the first Indian to play cricket for England
Queen Victoria, who was made Empress of India in 1876, with her Indian secretary


The first Indians, and other firsts

Britain’s first desi was a Bengali boy

The first woman to study law at Oxford was an Indian, and so was the man behind Britain’s first spa. A new book tells the story of Indian immigrants in the UK

Monica Bathija

The Times of India

A recorded presence since 1614

In 1793, Sake Dean Mohamed, born in Bihar in 1759 and having worked his way up in the East India Company, moved to Cork, Ireland where he wrote the first known Indian travel narrative in English. That’s not the only first to his credit — a shrewd entrepreneur, Mohamed migrated to London in 1808 with his wife Jane and children and opened the first Indian coffee house there. Then, when that business began to fail, he moved to Brighton, reinvented himself, and in 1821 revived the town’s spa culture by opening ‘Vapour Baths’. He went on to become the official ‘shampooing surgeon’ of George IV.

If the predominant myth about Britain’s contemporary South Asian population is that they arrived after the end of World War II, mostly cheap labour from the subcontinent being sought to rebuild a war-torn Britain, Susheila Nasta and Florian Stadtler’s new book Asian Britain: A Photographic History, dispels the notion. The Asian presence in Britain dates back to over 400 years ago when a small population had arrived as early as the formation of the East India Company in 1600.

“One of the first recorded presences of an Indian in Britain was in 1614 when Patrick Copland, a chaplain in the East India Company, returned to England with a Bengali boy,” says Nasta, literary critic and editor of Wasafiri, a literary magazine. The boy was christened Petrus Papa or Peter Pope and brought up as a Christian.

The book explores the interconnections between Britain and India from the period of the so-called ‘Raj’ to the present, directing the lens, so to speak, in the direction of Indians in Britain rather than the other way round. A lot of the focus on Raj history has largely been on the British in India, so the book, says Nasta, “looks, if you like, at the other side of this story, the obvious fact that due to the long trading and political connections between both countries, the traffic was two way.”

Some firsts

Through pictures, the book tells the stories of Cornelia Sorabji, the first woman to read law at Oxford way back in 1892, and suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh who, exploiting her public profile as Queen Victoria’s god-daughter, drew attention to her fight for women’s rights and was often seen selling The Suffragette outside Hampton Court Palace. And though Keith Vaz’s election in 1987 was an important symbolic moment — Vaz was the first Asian MP in Britain since 1929 — the photographs remind us that it was actually Dadabhai Naoroji who was Britain’s first Asian MP in 1892, his concerns ranging from the housing conditions of his Finchley constituents to the imperial drain on India’s resources brought about by empire.

The interconnectedness of the two countries is also a story that moves from the 1886 Colonial and Indian Exhibition where Indians were featured as living exhibits to the over 1.4 million troops that fought alongside British soldiers in the trenches during World War 1. It’s a story about the RAF recruits that flew planes in the Battle of Britain and sari-clad Indian volunteers who helped during air raids. There were also lascars or seamen who ‘stoked the engine of Empire on British steamships’ and were forced by the arduous conditions on board to find more lucrative sources of employment as well as ayahs who worked as nannies for English families on the long sea voyage home and were left to fend for themselves soon after arrival. Not to mention the interesting story where around the time Mohandas Gandhi made his way to Britain to study law, Abdul Karim, who went on to become the Queen’s closest political advisor, first arrived in the royal household as an ordinary waiter.

The elites and the common man all form a part of the narrative. ‘’We wanted to highlight the long history of Asian contribution to Britain but to not try to hide the troubled times or the racism or the difficulties that have been experienced,’’ says Nasta, who has also directed two research projects looking at the early migrant histories of South Asians in Britain.

Migration is, at the best of times, a fraught issue and when you throw colonialism into the mix, it makes for a history that is complicated and intriguing. ‘’There is always a doublespeak going on as is evident from India’s involvement in WW2 which was welcomed and then there was failure to acknowledge this after Independence. Following the migrations of the 1960s, Asians were viewed as strangers flooding Britain’s shores,’’ says Nasta. ‘’And the point about all the pictures is not only what they say but what they don’t say, and the thoughts they provoke about their subject’s different lives in Britain.’

Indians:largest foreign voter group in UK

The Times of India

Jan 30 2015, Kounteya Sinha

6.15L: Indians form largest foreign voter group in UK

Almost 4 million voters ­ about one in 10 of the entire electorate in England and Wales ­ have been found to be born abroad. Indians have emerged the largest chunk in this foreign born electorate.

As many as 615,000 Indians will vote in the upcoming election. The second largest chunk of foreign voters will be Pakistanis ­ 431,000.

Records show the Commonwealth migrant communities (in particular from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and South Africa) along with the Irish Republic will have the highest numbers of potential voters in May 2015. EU nationals despite their large and growing presence in the UK will be heavily under-represented in May 2015 as a large majority of them have not acquired British citizenship yet.

The migrant electorate is heavily concentrated in London ­ 19 of the 20 seats with the largest migrant voter shares are in Greater London.

The migrant electorate could have decisive power in at least 70 seats.


First ‘purpose-built’ crematorium, 2021

NAOMI CANTON, Dec 19, 2021: The Times of India

LONDON: Hindus in Britain are going to get their first purpose-built Hindu crematorium complete with a large ceremony hall, two private ritual rooms, shower facilities, a crematory hall and a separate canteen building after a landmark decision was made to grant planning permission.

The Planning Inspectorate on December 16 granted Anoopam Mission UK planning permission for the crematorium on its 15-acre site near Denham, allowing its appeal against Buckinghamshire Council, which had refused planning permission on September 4, 2020, stating that it was "an inappropriate development in the green belt, which would encroach on the countryside".

The proposed crematorium will be located in the grounds of the Hindu temple at the Shree Swaminarayan Spiritual Cultural and Community centre and will be able to cater for up to 500 attendees.

In its letter to Buckinghamshire Council, when making the original application, Satish Chatwani, international president of the Anoopam Mission UK, wrote that the "experience of a Hindu" funeral was missing in other crematoria in the UK. The letter explained how death is one of the samskaras (rites of passage) of a Hindu and that even though electric cremators can replaced the tradition of burning the body on a wooden pyre, it is the ceremony and ritual that surrounds the cremation of a Hindu that make a Hindu funeral.

"Cemeteries are provided across the country for the Muslim and Jewish communities to bury and honour their dead as befits their beliefs; that there is no such provision for Hindus to properly carry out this last act of faith is a betrayal of our rights and our contribution to British society," he wrote.

Non-Hindu crematorium services in Britain are much shorter than Hindus require, the crematoriums often cannot accommodate the large numbers that attend Hindu funerals; slots cannot be found in the short time frame after death that Hindus require, there are no dedicated spaces for pre-ceremony rituals such as opening the coffin and carrying out aarti and pradakshina. Nor are there shower facilities or dining facilities. As such, Hindus have to use several venues: the home, the funeral parlour, the crematorium and the temple, disjointing the ceremony.

In her decision, planning inspector Katie McDonald wrote the Hindu community in this area were "disadvantaged by being denied the opportunity to fully observe their cultural and religious beliefs and traditions" and this was so significant that it "outweighed the harm to the green belt. "Just as dedicated cemeteries exist for followers of other faiths in this country, deaths in the Hindu community should be afforded this dignity," she said.

Letters and petitions, with over 2,000 signatures of support, were submitted and Bob Blackman MP and Lord Jitesh Gadhia spoke in favour.

Divorce granted by a foreign court is invalid

Smriti Singh TNN

The Times of India, Oct 9, 2011

NRI divorce: Order by UK court ‘invalid’

Divorce granted by a foreign court to a non-resident Indian (NRI) is invalid where the estranged spouse doesn’t have the means to go to that country and contest the proceedings. A trial court has held this view while hearing the case of a UK-based NRI couple.

The NRI man had obtained divorce decree from an Ilford county court even as his wife had returned to India and not “submitted to the jurisdiction of a foreign court”. The trial court held that the decree granted by the UK court cannot be recognized.

“The fact that the petitioner has been residing in India since December 2009 and did not have the wherewithal to contest the proceedings on merit in the UK court not only created an imbalance and an inequitable situation, but clearly points out that she had not submitted to the jurisdiction of that court,” additional district judge Ina Malhotra said.

The woman (petitioner) had moved the trial court, seeking divorce on the grounds of cruelty. Her husband, however, submitted that their marriage had already been dissolved by a court in UK and had attained finality, and therefore, the application was infructuous. Also, since both the parties were UK residents, the decree was valid, he said.

But the woman’s counsel, Prashant Mendiratta, argued that since she had never subjected herself to the jurisdiction of the UK court adjudicating on the divorce, the decree passed by that court would not be binding on her. Citing various judgments by the Supreme Court on the issue, Mendiratta said that in any case the proper law for dissolution of a marriage solemnized by Hindu rites and ceremonies between two Hindus would be the personal law of the parties, which is the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 — a law not applicable in the UK.

After going through the contentions of both the parties, the court held that the objections raised by the woman fell within the purview of the exceptions of Section 13 of Civil Procedure Code (when foreign judgment not conclusive), rendering the foreign court’s decree null and void. “I find that the apex court has clearly opined that where the foreign judgment is in defiance of Indian law, it could not be said to be conclusive in the matter adjudicated and would be unenforceable in this country,” the judge said.

Economic status

2007-17: Indians, South Asians suffer unfair pay gap

Desis, ethnic minorities suffer unfair pay gap in UK: Report, December 28, 2018: The Times of India

Indians along with other black and Asian minorities in the UK face an unfair pay gap in comparison to their white counterparts, according to a new report released on Thursday.

The Resolution Foundation report says overall Britain’s 1.9-million ethnic minority workers have lost out on 3.2-billion pounds a year due to this “pay penalty” suffered as a result of their background. “We find that between 2007 and 2017 the total annual cost of pay penalties experienced by black, Indian and Pakistani/Bangladeshi men and women would amount to 3.2 billion pounds per year,” says the report.

The research by the UKbased thinktank found that average hourly pay for some ethnic minority groups, such as Indian and black women without degrees, did not differ from white non-graduate women’s pay in a “statistically meaningful way”.

However, once background factors — such as where someone lives or the role they do — were factored in that seemingly non-existent pay gap becomes a statistically significant pay penalty. “All things held equal, Indian non-graduate women earned 44p an hour less and Black non-graduate women 61p an hour less than their white counterparts,” it found.

A UK government spokesperson said “diversity is good for businesses” and it is committed to ensuring the workplace “works for everyone”. “...We’re currently consulting on proposals for mandatory ethnicity pay reporting as part of a series of measures to help employers tackle ethnic disparities.”

2017: Indians, Chinese earn more than white counterparts

Naomi Canton, July 11, 2019: The Times of India

It’s official. Chinese and Indian employees in the UK earn more than their white British counterparts, a new report has revealed.

But employees of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin have the lowest hourly pay of all ethnicities, according to the report “Ethnicity Pay Gaps in Great Britain: 2018”.

The report, which details for the first time earnings and employment statistics for different ethnic groups in Britain, was published by the Office for National Statistics. It found that employees from Chinese and Indian ethnic groups have consistently earned more than white British employees since 2012.

The two ethnic groups with the highest median hourly pay in UK in 2018 were Chinese and Indian with Chinese earning nearly 40% more than their white British counterparts’ hourly earnings at £15.75 (Rs 1,347) while ethnic Indian staffers earn 12% more, with average hourly pay of £13.47 (Rs 1,152). Those from mixed/multiple ethnic groups also earn more than white British with average hourly pay of £12.33 (Rs 1,054). The median pay of white British employees stands at £12.03 (Rs 1,028) per hour. The ethnic group that has the lowest median hourly pay is Bangladeshi at £9.60 (Rs 821), 20% less than white British, followed by Pakistani at £10 (Rs 855) per hour, which is nearly17% less. The pay gap data was commissioned as part of a government examination into the barriers faced by people from ethnic groups in the workplace. This followed a 2017 report, “Race in the Workplace”, which said equal progression across ethnicities could be worth an additional £24 billion (a little over Rs 2 lakh crore) to the UK’s economy per year. Despite being at the top, the largest pay difference between men and women in 2018 was for the Indian ethnic group, with Indian men earning 23% more per hour than Indian women compared to Chinese men who earn 19% more per hour than Chinese women, and white British men who earn 18.5% more than white British women.

The ethnic group with the highest employment rate is white other (such as white Australian and white European) at nearly 82%, followed by white British at 76.4% , with Indian in third place, ahead of Chinese at nearly 76%. Pratik Dattani, MD of economic research firm EPG, based in London and India, said: “As there are four times as many Indians as Chinese in Britain, the data underlines the unmatched value that Indians create for the British economy.” Jasvir Singh, founding chair of City Sikhs, said: “Recent research has shown that there are more people called ‘Steve’ heading FTSE 100 firms than there are individuals from ethnic minorities. More needs to be done to ensure that people from all backgrounds are supported in the workplace .”

2022: Indians own the most houses

Naomi Canton, March 19, 2023: The Times of India

London : Home ownership in England and Wales is most common for people who identify as being of an Indian ethnicity, the latest data from the 2021 census has revealed.

The Indian diaspora, together with the Chinese community, also has the highest levels of education attainment across all ethnic groups, and jointly have the highest proportion of people working in professional occupations in the UK.

The results of the 2021 census are being released in phases and demonstrate large disparities between ethnic groups by education, employment, health and housing across England and Wales. 
Home ownership was most common for people who identified as being of Indian ethnicity at 71%, followed by white British at 68%. Overcrowded housing is most common for people who identified as Bangladeshi, with 39% of them in this living situation. Social rented housing was most common among people who identified as black Afro-Caribbean.

Professional occupations (for example, doctors, teachers and lawyers) also saw the highest percentage of people coming from the Indian and Chinese ethnic groups equally at 34% from both those groups. This was followed by 33% of white Irish and 30% of Arabs compared to 20% of Pakistanis, 17% of Bangladeshis and 19% of white British.

People who identify as Chinese and Indian also have the highest levels of education of the 19 ethnic groups analysed, with 56% of Chinese having got such qualifications and 52% of people in the Indian ethnic group having them, closely followed by African. On the census, everyone was asked to rate their health from “very good” to “very bad”. Over the whole population, 48% of people said they had “very good” health and 1. 2% said they had “very bad” health.

Indian students

Please see Indian students in the UK

Indians in British politics

See Indians in British politics

Indian investment in the UK

Indians: second job creators in London

The Times of India

Job creation in UK, year-wise: 2012-15; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

May 20 2015

Kounteya Sinha

In 2012, India created 404 jobs in London followed by 429 in 2013 and 438 in 2014.

With a tally of 504, Indians have become the second biggest job creators in London in 2015. The Americans top the list with 1983 jobs, latest data released by London and Partners on Tuesday show. In comparison, China, which is investing heavily in the UK, created only 277 jobs.

Indian companies have already created 504 new jobs in 2015 in London alone -second only to the Americans who created 1983 jobs. China which is investing heavily in UK created only 277 jobs.

The number of jobs being created by Indian companies for Londoners has been increasing with every passing year. In 2012, India created 404 jobs in London followed by 429 in 2013 and 438 in 2014.

More foreign companies -driven by a surge in tech startups -are expanding or setting up headquarters in London than ever before. A record 270 companies, creating nearly 5,000 jobs, have set up or grown significantly in the last year, according to the Mayor's business and promotional company .

As far as new companies are concerned, 28 new Indian companies set up shop in London in 2015 -four higher than the Chinese and second only to America. Global giants like Pfizer, Greenland Group and Tata Elxsi have all expanded or created new headquarters in London. f A decade ago, just 26 tech t companies came to London s but, last financial year there were a record 108. London and a Partners said, “Companies l from India, China, Japan, Australia, Spain and France are also key investors, creating many jobs in tech, financial and business services and the life science industry.“


April 25, 2019: The Times of India

Indian investment in UK on rise despite Brexit: Report

LONDON: The number of Indian companies investing in the UK registered a jump over the previous year despite the ongoing uncertainties around Brexit, according to a new report tracking Indian investments in the UK.

The annual 'India Meets Britain Tracker' released in London on Wednesday finds that the number of Indian companies doing business in Britain has increased from 800 in 2018 to 842 in 2019, with a combined turnover of 48 billion pounds. The report, published by business advisory firm Grant Thornton UK LLP and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), revealed a more than doubling of the corporation tax paid by these companies to hit 684 million pounds, up from 360 million pounds in the previous year.

"The headline figures in the tracker are startling. They are testament to the strength and entrepreneurialism of the Indian business community, with some companies growing by more than 100 per cent year on year," UK minister for investment Graham Stuart said at the launch.

The minister pointed out that the figures are likely to see a further jump from next year, when the UK's corporation tax, from the current level of 19 per cent, will drop to 17 per cent.

"We will always welcome Indian investments and we recognise India's importance as one of our most critical bilateral investors," he said.

Among some of the other highlight figures from the tracker, 24 per cent of Indian companies in the UK have at least one woman on their board, up from 19 per cent last year, and they employ an estimated 104,783 people in the country.

"The report brings out in such graphic terms the contribution that Indian businesses are making to the UK. We all wondered how the Brexit process would have affected the investment sentiment from India and now we have the answer – Indian business retains its positive outlook towards the UK," said Ruchi Ghanashyam, the Indian high commissioner to the UK.

The report, now in its sixth year, provides a tracker of the fastest growing Indian companies in the UK with turnover of more than 5 million pounds, year-on-year revenue growth of at least 10 per cent and a minimum two-year track-record in the UK.

Among these Accord Healthcare Ltd, Milpharm Ltd and Secure Meters (UK) Ltd have been consistently recorded as fast growing ever since the Tracker was launched in 2014.

Anuj Chande, partner and head of South Asia Group at Grant Thornton UK LLP, noted: "Given the continuing uncertainty driven by the UK's exit from the European Union (EU), it is encouraging to see that Indian investors continue to invest confidently in the UK and in fact, there are now more Indian businesses active in the UK than ever before."

"The fall in the value of sterling has also had a role to play, making UK assets increasingly attractive to overseas investors. Low rates of corporation tax and the ease of doing business in the UK also remain significant draws."

Lakshmi Kaul, head & representative – UK, CII, added: "As India's economy continues to grow, Indian companies will increasingly have greater choice over where to invest and the UK must ensure that, beyond Brexit, it remains a leading investment destination."

Three companies in this year's tracker reported growth of more than 100 per cent, with the fastest growing of these being TMT Metal Holdings Limited, with a growth rate of 649 per cent. This was followed by Route Mobile (UK) Limited, which reported growth of 189 per cent, and BB (UK) Ltd, which achieved turnover growth of almost 129 per cent.

At an awards ceremony to coincide with the tracker launch, TMT bagged the fastest growing company award for the year and Route Mobile won the award in the tech category. Tata Motors Limited was named the top employer in the UK, employing over 43,000 people, and Union Bank of India was named the fastest growing financial services company.

As in the previous years, technology and telecom companies dominate the tracker, accounting for 35 per cent of the fastest-growing companies. Engineering and manufacturing companies are the next in line, accounting for 16 per cent, followed by pharmaceutical and chemicals companies at 15 per cent.

Indians: Largest overseas born population in UK


The Times of India, July 3, 2015

Kounteya Sinha

Indians have now become UK's biggest overseas born population.

Data released by Office of National Statistics shows that the number of Indians living in UK is four times more than the Chinese and Americans, over three times more than those of Bangladeshi and German origin and two times more than those from Ireland.

The number of Indians have grown by half since 2004 with 7.6 lakh of them living in UK now. India is followed by those of Polish origin (8.88 lakhs), Pakistani (5.16 lakh), Irish (3.78 lakhs), German (2.97 lakhs) and Bangladeshis (2.28 lakhs).

UK is also home to 2.2 lakh people of South African origin, 1.97 lakh who are Americans, 1.91 lakh from China and 1.85 lakhs from Nigeria.

The latest numbers also point to the growing clout Indians enjoy in British society.

The importance of India to UK was reflected with British prime minister visiting India over three times since taking over office in 2010, the only country he has travelled to so many times in his first term in office.

The number of immigrants living in the UK went up by more than 2.6million in a decade and there is now one immigrant for every seven people born in Britain.

In 2004, there were 5,258,000 people living in Britain who were born overseas and 53,907,000 people who were born in Britain.

By 2013, the estimates said, there were 7,921,000 people in Britain who were born abroad, and 55,309,000 born in the UK.

The changing face of British streets also changed the election results during the landmark general election in UK in May.

The House of Commons welcomed the highest number of MPs from ethnic minority backgrounds. As many as 42 MPs are now from ethnic minority backgrounds as against 27 earlier.

Britain is often considered the world's most diverse country.

By 2040, the number of foreign-born and non-white residents in UK is expected to double and account for a third of the population.

One of the world's best experts on demographics - Professor David Coleman from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford recently predicted that by 2070, white Britons may actually become a minority.

Prime minister David Cameron has gone on record saying his party will give Britain its first Asian prime minister.

The longest serving MP of Indian origin Keith Vaz said "I am convinced that in my lifetime a person of Indian origin will become PM of UK. The Indian diaspora is one of the largest and most historical of ethnic groups in the UK, we can already see the influence of this community in politics, and indeed the potential for British-Indian leaders to emerge to the very top positions including the Premiership of the UK".

2011, 2022

Naomi Canton, Nov 4, 2022: The Times of India

London : One in six, or 10 million, usual residents of England and Wales were born outside the UK and the most common country of birth was India, according to new data released from the 2021 census.

The number of England and Wales residents born in India increased from 6,94,148 in the 2011 census to 9,20,361 (1. 5% of the usual resident population) in the 2021 census. 
Out of the 59. 6 million usual residents in England and Wales in 2021, 49. 6 million (83. 2%) were born in the UK and 10 million (16. 8%) were born outside the UK – an increase of 2. 5 million compared to the 2011 census when 7. 5 million were born outside the UK. 
In 2021, those born in the EU made up 3. 6 million of that population and the remaining 6. 4 million were born outside the European Union.

The three most common non-UK countries of birth forusual residents in 2021 were the same as in 2011: India, followed by Poland, which has increased to 743,000 (1. 2%), up from 579,000 in 2011; and Pakistan, which has increased to 624,000 (1%), up from 482,000 in 2011. The other most common non-UK countries of birth for usual residents in 2021 were Romania, Ireland, Italy, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Germany and South Africa. The countries no longer in the top 10 non-UK countries of birth are the US and Jamaica. Polish (760,000, 1. 3%), Romanian (550,000, 0. 9%) and Indian (369,000,0. 6%) were the three most common non-UK passports held by usual residents in England and Wales in 2021.

The data from “International Migration, England and Wales: Census 2021” shows the biggest increase in residents born outside the UK were arrivals from Romania, followed by India and Poland.

London remains the region with both the largest proportion of people born outside the UK and the largest proportion of people with non-UK passports. In 2021, more than 4 in 10 (40. 6%) usual residents in London were non-UK born, and more than 1 in 5 (23. 3%) had a non-UK passport. Of the top 20 local authorities with the highest proportion of nonUK passport holders, 15 were in London. The top three were the City of London (34. 0%), Westminster (33. 6%) and Newham (33. 3%). Outside of London, the highest proportions of nonUK passport holders were in Cambridge andSlough.

Languages of India

On the decline/ 2022

Naomi Canton, Nov 16, 2022: The Times of India

London: There has been a significant decline in British students taking exams in Indian languages despite talk of a living bridge between the UK and India, the trade deal and the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt. Figures from the UK department for education (DfE) show a drastic fall in the number of UK students sitting GCSEs (the national exam taken in the UK at age of 16) in South Asian languages over the past seven years. There were no students sitting Hindi GCSE in 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019. Only 19 students had sat Hindi GCSE in 2015. Many have pointed to a lack of qualified and trained teachers.

Labour Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas is calling for more government investment in key South Asian languages, dedicated funding and specialist training of teachers as well as more support for community schooling. “Investment and commitment is needed to kickstart a new generation of young people able to communicate with the people of South Asia in their own languages to boost trade, open up business opportunities and assist in improving our collective security. ”

The number of students sitting Bengali GCSE has fallen from 890 in 2015 to 425 students in 2022 (a drop of 52%); Gujarati has fallen from 532 students in 2015 to 197 in 2022 (a drop of 63%); Urdu has fallen from 4,173 students in 2015 to 3,284 students in 2022 (a drop of 21%) and Persian has fallen from 395 to 319 (a drop of 19%. ). The language to have declined the least is Punjabi, which has fallen from 805 to 714 (an 11% drop).

According to Aruna Ajitsaria, consultant to Cambridge International Examinations, the standard Hindi GCSE exam was withdrawn as the education authority thought there were not enough entriesto keep it open. “Bengali and Gujarati are still taught in mainstream schools in places like Birmingham and Leicester where there is demand, but Hindi is not taught in any schools in the UK,” Ajitsaria said. “It is only taught in a few places like the Bhavan, temples and privately from home. It is not included in the national curriculum. ” Private Hindi teacher Indu Barot said she has been trying to get a job as a Hindi school teacher in Britain for 10 years.


Illegal immigrants

Image of/ 2018

The image of migrants from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan/ 2018

Indians among favoured migrants in UK: Survey, May 7, 2018: The Times of India

Indian migrants have a more positive image in the UK as compared to other South Asian communities, according to a recent opinion poll. In comparison, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis were in the negative territory. The YouGov poll, conducted last month among 1,668 British citizens, asked a series of questions about the kind of contribution immigrants from various parts of the world make to British life.

Immigrants from India received a strong figure of +25 on the question about making a positive contribution to British life. In comparison, other South Asian counterparts were in negative territory. Pakistanis scored a negative figure of -4 and Bangladeshis -3. Net figures are calculated by taking away the figure for “negative contribution” from the figure for “positive contribution”.

The figures come against the backdrop of a growing debate around the atmosphere for migrants in the UK.

In a House of Commons debate earlier this week, the Opposition Labour party had warned that the recent Windrush scandal engulfs immigrants from many Commonwealth countries, including “those who came from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh”.

The scandal relates to thousands of Commonwealth citizens who came to Britain many decades ago when there was little need for formal paperwork and are now legally resident in Britain but may not have all the documents to prove it. The YouGov survey concluded that overall public opinion in the UK towards immigration remains negative.

Around 63%t of people believe that immigration into Britain in the last 10 years has been too high and around 32% thinking it has been mostly bad for Britain.


NAOMI CANTON , March 12, 2023: The Times of India

LONDON: New statistics from the UK government show a worrying rise in the number of Indian citizens risking their lives to cross the English Channel on small boats illegally and enter Britain.

A total of 683 Indian citizens crossed the English Channel illegally from France on small boats in 2022. The majority were men under the age of 40.

This comes as Indian-origin UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Indian-origin UK home secretary Suella Braverman introduced the Illegal Migration Bill in the House of Commons last week. The bill proposes to detain and deport to the home country or a third country anyone entering Britain illegally on a small boat. Such a person would also be permanently banned from entering the UK thereafter. The aim is to deter illegal migration and crack down on smuggling gangs who charge up to £3,000 per person in France to transport migrants on unsafe dinghies to England, often 40 to 50 of them crammed ontoa boat. The gangs buy dinghies in Turkey, have them posted to Germany and then drive them to France. Many migrants have drowned en route.

The number of Indians using this route has been gradually increasing. In 2018 and 2018 no Indians entered the UK on small boats. But in 2020 the first Indians were detected when 64 crossed; in 2021, 67 crossed. But 2022 saw the largest jump — to 683.

In the last three months of 2022 there were 451 Indian citizens who arrived on small boats, of which all bar three were men. In the third quarter of 2022 a total of 134 Indians arrived on small boats (of which 127 were male); in the second quarter, 66 Indians arrived; and in the first quarter, 32 Indians arrived.

TV channel GB News recently broadcast a TikTok video showing Sikhs crammed onto a dinghy at sea. The channel claimed they were making the illegal crossing to the UK from France, though TOI could not verify the video. The Sikh Press Association slammed the channel for “demonising Sikhs” and pointed out that “Sikh lives in Afghanistan are constantly in danger”.

In total 45,755 people crossed the Channel on small boats in 2022 compared to just 299 in 2018. Indians now make up the 10th-largest nationality to cross in this manner, with the top five being people from Albania, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Sunak met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and agreed to give France almost half a billion pounds over three years to pay for a new detention centre in France and fund extra police to prevent such small boats leaving France.

In 2022 a total of 3,248 Indian citizens made claims for asylum in Britain, though only 4% were successful at the initial decision. Indians are now the ninth top nationality to make asylum claims to remain in the UK.

2022, 2023

May 6, 2023: The Times of India

The majority of Indians entering the UK illegally on small boats are from Punjab, as new data shows that the number of Indians crossing the channel has shot up in the first three of months of this year, making them the second-biggest cohort (18%) after Afghans.


Naomi Canton, March 1, 2024: The Times of India

London: There was a 60% increase in Indian nationals making the dangerous English Channel crossing on small boats in 2023, making Indians the ninth-largest cohort which arrived in this manner after paying smugglers in Calais hundreds of pounds to do so. The vast majority of Indians are males aged 18 to 3 9 who then make asylum claims.

Office of National Statistics’ latest data, shows that in 2023, 1,192 Indians arrived in UK illegally on small boats. This is a 60% increase from 2022 when 748 Indians crossed on small boats. In the past two years, numbers have risen exponentially compared to 2021 when 67 crossed, and 2020 when 64 crossed. In 2018 and 2019 no one from India arrived via this route.

The top eight nationalities to arrive by small boats in 2023 ahead of India were from Afghanistan (5,545), Iran (3,562), Turkey (3,040), Eritrea (2,662), Iraq (2,545), Syria (2,280), Sudan (1,612), and Vietnam (1,323). There were far less arrivals from Pakistan in 2023, numbering just 103. A total of 29,438 illegal migrants arrived this way in 2023 on 602 boats, a 36% drop from 2022 when 45,774 came this way on 1,110 boats.
The most common boats used are rigid-hulled inflatable boats, dinghies and kayaks.

Between Jan and March 2023, 663 Indian small boat arrivals made asylum claims, of which 648 were male and 571 were men aged 18 to 39. Between April and June 2023, 194 Indians made asylum claims, of which 188 were male and 154 were men aged 18 to 39.



Naomi Canton, April 29, 2023: The Times of India

London: “Sikh extremism” and “Hindu nationalism” are emerging threats facing the UK that have grown under the noses of the British authorities whilst they were focused on other threats a report commissioned by the UK government, when Boris Johnson was PM, has found. Whilst the aim of the recently published Bloom Review, written by independent faith engagement adviser Colin Bloom, was to provide recommendations on how to make relations between the state and faith groups stronger, it ended up devoting an entire chapter to threats from faith extremism.

The report, based on 21,000 public responses and interviews with experts, calls on the government to investigate extremist activity within the Sikh community, stating there is an “extremely vocal and aggressive minority of British Sikhs who can be described as pro-Khalistan extremists, promoting an ethno-nationalist agenda”. Some of these extremists have been known to support and incite violence and intimidation.

The report also expresses alarm at nationalist movements within the British Hindu diaspora that it says have become “somewhat more prevalent” in recent years. “This can be seen in the sophisticated though ultimately small mobilisation of Hindu nationalist activists who reportedly targeted public figures and politicians they considered hostile to their agenda in the 2019 UK general election, and the recent tensions in Leicester.

Real estate

2013-15: Property in Mayfair

The Times of India Feb 24 2015

Kounteya Sinha

Indians have overtaken Russians to become the wealthiest landlords in Britain’s most expensive commercial district — Mayfair in London. Indian purchasers are now the largest group of overseas buyers in Mayfair comprising 25% of all purchasers and well ahead of other Asian and European buyers (19% of all purchasers) and Russians and Middle Eastern buyers who now comprise just 13% each. Indian billionaires have invested as much as £881million ($1.5 billon) in central London properties in past 18 months.

Up to £440 million ($750m) was spent between wealthy home owners across 221 capital homes in 2013 with Mayfair and Belgravia being the most popular locations. Renowned Mayfair estate agency Wetherell estimate that at the height of each British summer some 3,000 ultrahigh net worth (UHNW) Indian families make Mayfair their address, living in London homes, renting property or staying in luxury hotels.

Figures from the land registry show that overseas based Indian buyers spent almost £450 million purchasing some 221 residential properties in prime central London with the top three most popular locations being Mayfair, St Johns Wood and Belgravia.

Indians have also accounted for more than one in four purchases in central London during the same period. That is second only to Britons, with Russians and Middle Eastern buyers together adding up to 13%.

Wetherell said, “Russians have long ranked first among foreign buyers in terms of their spending power. There’s a new nationality encroaching on their prime property turf — Indians. Indian buyers will typically spend anything from £1million to £20 million on purchasing a home in Mayfair, with 70% buying an apartment or penthouse and the balance acquiring a mansion.” Wetherell highlight that super-prime developers owned by UK or overseas based UHNW Indian families are al so set to undertake over £500 million of new residential development in Mayfair over the next five years.

Examples include the Lodha Group, which recently purchased the Canadian embassy building in Grosvenor Square for £306 million. They plan to turn the 135,000sqft property into a scheme of over 40 luxury residences.

Another luxury developer Luxlo has undertaken a series of residential developments in Mayfair, including penthouses in Park Lane, which have sold for over £4,000 a sqft and Aion, whose ultra-prime apartment at 18 Grosvenor Square is priced at a record £5,130 per sqft.

2016-17: in 22% of real estate transactions in prime London

William DSouza, Indians now No. 2 in London realty deals, October 24, 2017: The Times of India

Indian portion in central london realty deals, 2012-17; Central London property transactions, August 2016-July 2017
From: William DSouza, Indians now No. 2 in London realty deals, October 24, 2017: The Times of India

Up Fourfold In 5 Years, Just Behind Chinese

The prime central London property market has thrown up an interesting trend -the phenomenal rise of Indians in this high-profile realty market.

Research shared by property consultancy Cluttons' partner and head of research Faisal Durrani shows that, between August 2016 and July 2017, Indian participation amounted to 22% of all real estate transactions in prime central London. “It has been noted recently that there has been an upturn in Indian buyers, making up about a fifth at nearly 4 billion pounds out of a total 18 billion pounds,“ said Durrani.

This is also supported by real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield's partner (residential ­ London markets) Mike Bickerton. “Indian UK property investments accounted for only 5% of sales in central London five years ago in 2012. By 2017, that figure had jumped to 22%,“ he said.

Cluttons' Durrani said the last peak in this market was seen 10 years ago in Q3 (July-September) of 2007. “If somebody purchased then in rupees, today they would find that their property is worth 20% more than what they paid for it 10 years ago (due to the Indian currency's movement). So that means there's a strong incentive to sell,“ he said.

Dollar-denominated deals offer an incentive too for adding the London property portfolio. “For Indian buyers with holdings in US dollars, the advantage is that it is 30% cheaper today than it was 10 years ago. So, there is a very strong incentive to purchase London residential today ,“ said Durrani.

He made it clear that this is purely a currency advantage.“It is not because values in London have fallen 30%, because that hasn't happened,“ said Durrani.

Studies commissioned by Taylor Wimpey Central London, a part of the FTSE100listed Taylor Wimpey Plcand a leading developer in this niche market, also have come up with similar research on the forex fluctuations aiding the realty market globally .

The developer's sales & marketing director Darren McCormack said, “We've engaged quite a few forex companies to try and gauge this.And a lot of them reckon that it's going to take a good handful of years to get back to its previous strength. So, this advantage is going to stay for the overseas buyers.“

Rich list


Indians in the UK Rich list in 2022
From: May 25, 2022: The Times of India

See graphic:

Indians in the UK Rich list in 2022.


2020: Not to be recorded as ethnic group

Naomi Canton, November 7, 2020: The Times of India

Sikhs will not be recorded as an ethnic group in the 2021 UK census after a Sikh community group lost its longdrawn battle in the high court to challenge the ethnicity responses. The group incurred Rs 1.4 crore in legal fees. Handing down judgment, Justice Choudhury rejected the third judicial review claim brought by Amrik Singh Gill, chair of Sikh Federation UK.

Gill was seeking a court declaration that the census was unlawful because it was based on recommendations made by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that were reached following an unlawful evaluation process. He was also seeking a court order quashing the census. The federation claims the lack of a Sikh ethnic tick-box option in the census has led to a substantial undercounting of the Sikh population in UK. Choudhury dismissed the federation’s arguments, namely that the ONS failed to follow its own published policy on evaluating new tick-boxes and that it applied secret unpublished evaluation criteria instead.

2021 census

Naomi Canton, TNN, Dec 16, 2023: The Times of India

1L say ‘Sikh’ is their ethnic group in latest England census

London : Nearly one lakh British Sikhs chose Sikh as their ‘ethnicity’ in England’s most recent census, even though they could have selected ‘British Indian’ as ethnicity. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the first time published data on people who identified as Sikhs in the 2021 census in England and Wales.

As many as 97,910 people (18.6%) identified themselves as ‘Sikh’ through both ethnic and religion question; 1,725 (0.3%) identified as ‘Sikh’ through only the ethnic question; and 4,26,230 people (81.1%) identified as ‘Sikh’ through the voluntary religion question.

Of the 1,725 who identified themselves as ‘Sikh’ only through the ethnic question, 55.4% did not report their religion, 13.6% reported their religion as Muslim, 8.7% as Christian, and the rest said they had no religion.
The ONS added all three figures to come to the conclusion that there are 5,25,865 Sikhs in England and Wales. This is an increase of 22% on the 2011 census when 4,30,020 identified as ‘Sikh’, which is more than the general population increase of 6.3%.

Respondents could choose a tick-box response categories to the ethnic group question, which included “Indian” and “Pakistani”. There was a “write in box” also.
The census shows 56.5% of Sikhs were born in England and 34.1% in India. The next most common countries of birth were Kenya (2.5%) and Afghanistan (2.5%). In England, the most common “national identity” for Sikhs was “British only” (75%), whilst 13% identified as “Indian”.

Visa grants, year-wise

2015-16: Largest skilled workers group

The Times of India, May 27 2016

Indian nationals accounted for the largest number of migrants being granted skilled visas to work in the UK in the last year, latest statistics said.

Indian nationals accounted for 57% of total skilled work visas granted, which adds up to 52,109 of the total 91,833, with Americans the next largest nationality group at 9,981 or 11% of the total, the UK's Office of National Statistics (ONS) data said.“Trends in visa numbers reflect both changes to the im migration rules and the prevalent economic environment. Asian nationals accounted for 298,231 (56%) of the 531,375 longer-term visas granted in YE March 2016, with China and India accounting for 17% and 16% of the total respectively.

“The third largest number granted went to US nationals, who comprised less than 7%,“ an ONS statement said. Indians are also among the top three nationalities to be granted study visas by the United Kingdom.

2016-17: Largest skilled workers group

Indians are largest group of foreign skilled workers in UK, Feb 24, 2017: The Times of India

Indians were the largest group of skilled workers granted visas to live and work in the UK in 2016-17 at 57%, according to official figures.

The UK home office said Indians accounted for 53,575 skilled work visas granted in 2016, and Americans were the second largest at 9,348. “Indians accounted for 57% of total skilled work visas granted (53,575 of 93,244)...The information technology sector sponsored 42% of skilled work visa applications, followed by professional, scientific and technical (19%) and financial and insurance activi ties (12%),“ the Office of National Statistics said.

Indians also accounted for over half of the applications made in the sponsored skilled visa category last year at 30,556 of the total 56,058 applications. “Indians were issued the largest proportion (40% of the total) of skilled work vi sas in the 2010 cohort and, of these skilled Indians , 32% had received settlement after five years, while a further 12% still had valid leave to remain in the UK,“ it said.

The student visa figures for India registered a slight uptick with 11,330 granted in 2016, up from 11,160 in 2015.“For us, mobility is key for our services sector. There has to be a system where our professionals can come to the UK and return. They contribute immensely to both the economies,“ Indian high commissioner to the UK, Yashvardhan r Sinha said.

2022- 23

May 26, 2023: The Times of India

London : Indian nationals top the tally of skilled worker and student visas issued by the UK over the past year, according to official immigration statistics released in London on Thursday. The office for national statistics data collated by the UK home office shows that Indians were the top nationality for cross-sector skilled work, including specifically targeted healthcare visas aimed at filling staff shortages in National Health Service. They also made up the largest group of students granted visas under the new graduate post-study work route, representing 41% of grants.

“Indian nationals were the top nationality for visas in the ‘worker’ category, representing one third (33%) of grants, and were by far the top nationality for both the ‘skilled worker’ and ‘skilled worker health and care’ visas,” the home office analysis notes. “A total of 92,951 graduate route extensions were granted to previous students in the year ending March 2023,” it said.

As per the data, skilled worker visas granted to Indians rose 63%, from 13,390 in 2021-22 to 21,837 in 2022-23. In the healthcare visa category, Indians registered an even higher 105% hike from 14,485 to 29,726.

“Indian nationals had the second highest number of dependants, increasing from 22,598 to 42,381,” it notes. PTI

Net migration to UK hit record 6L in 2022

The number of people moving to Britain reached a record high of more than 600,000 in 2022, government figures showed Thursday, sparking renewed debate about the scale of immigration and its impact on the UK. Net migration — the difference between the number of people arriving and those leaving — was 606,000 for the year, according to the Office for National Statistics. A total of 1.2 million people moved to the UK in 2022, while 557,000 left. The net figure is up from just under 500,000 in 2021. It said the record level was due to a “series of unprecedented world events and the lifting of restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic”. PM Rishi Sunaksaid the immigration figure was “too high,” but he did not say what an ideal number would be. AP

Visas issued in 2022, 2023

Saurabh Sinha, Dec 11, 2023: The Times of India

New Delhi : The lure of the original vilayat continues for desis. Indians now account for almost a third of all visas issued by the UK, making them the highest visa getters for ‘dear Old Blighty’ with the Chinese a very distant second at 13%. Given the demand for travel, VFS Global says it is going to open temporary centres only for the UK in several tier-II cities like Prayagraj, Bhubaneswar, Calicut, Dehradun, Indore and Thane.

A popular destination for travellers from across the globe, UK granted over 18 lakh visitor visas in the year ending June 2023 — almost double the number (96% more) than the year ending June 2022, according to UK data.

See also

Indian students in the UK

Indians in British/ UK politics

UK-India relations

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