Picture for illustrative purposes; Indian flag displayed on Burj Khalifa to Celebrate Indian Independance day, Dubai Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE tops the list of countries hosting Indians at 3.42 million, the lower House of Indian Parliament was told during its ongoing budget session.

This is an increase from 3.1 million at the end of 2018.

Sixty five per cent of Indians living outside their country have made the GCC their home, Of these six GCC states, the UAE tops the list as home to the largest number of Indians, closely followed by Saudi Arabia.

The third largest concentration of Indians is in the United States, but their number is way behind, at a mere one fifth of the combined total for the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Data from India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, also given to Parliament simultaneously, said $76.4 billion flowed into India by way of remittances from Indians living abroad. This is the figure for the financial year 2018-19, the last year for which full statistics are available. No country-wise source for the remittances was provided.

Separate statistics show that 55 per cent of Indians travelling abroad pass through the UAE at some point in their journey. Simultaneously, the number of Indian tourists to the UAE and hotel occupancy by them in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have also soared.

With big publicity campaigns under way for Expo 2020 Dubai, the expectation here is that the number of Indians visiting the UAE this year and the next will reach record levels.