The discovery of oil in Brunei in 1929 brought a substantial number of Indians into Brunei in the oil sector and allied services and later as teachers. Shri Mohinder Singh, an NRI and now a Bruneian citizen, was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) 2010 in acknowledgement of his outstanding achievements in the field of community service.
Majority of the doctors in Brunei are from India. Other professionals include engineers, IT professionals, bankers, teachers etc. Indian businessmen have a near monopoly in textiles. According to local government’s official sources there are around 11,500 Indians living in Brunei. They also have a presence in hardware and electronics. More than half of the Indian expatriates are semi and unskilled workers.
There are three Indian Associations, Indian Chamber of Commerce as well as Brunei India Friendship Association. The Indian Associations celebrate the Indian Festivals viz: Diwali, Pongal, Onam as well as Independence Day and Republic Day.