Is India a good choice for expat career progression?

Is India a good choice for expat career progression?

Is India a good choice for expat career progression?

India may not be the first country which springs to mind as an expat professional destination, but the reality can bring on a pleasant surprise.

Historically, India is a country people come from, with comparatively few heading in the opposite direction. Of its teeming population, some 20,000 to 30,000 are expatriates, although numbers are believed to be increasing nowadays. Whatever this vast land it is, it isn’t Bollywood, although the hugely popular movies certainly contribute to expat interest in finding out more about the reality of life in the big cities.

India’s present day expat community is multinational and comprises a good number of upper echelon expat employees working in major multinational corporations. The country is also popular with teachers, artists and tech entrepreneurs, many of whom are fascinated with India’s history and myriad cultures. The majority of foreign residents lead an affluent life due to the low cost of living and comparatively high salaries.

Although the sub-continent’s peoples have a variety of languages, Hindi is the official language, used by some 30 per cent of the entire population. English is widely spoken in business and commerce, and is the major language in the service and trading sectors. For would-be expats who’re not strong on languages, Southern India is the best bet, as the region has far more English speakers.

This vast country has a wide variety of climates divided into four regions – the Alpine Zone in the far north, including the Himalayan Range, the sub-tropical Northern area with its soaring heatwaves and low rainfall, the totally tropical southern region with its searing heat and humidity and Western India with low rainfall and high temperatures.

It has to be said that finding work in India can be a challenge, as low salaries will be on offer for those who’re not on reassignment to a multinational company. Basically, and especially for those looking to further their careers, a position should be found prior to arrival. Although the country is now considered to be progressive and hi-tech, personal connections and networking are the only ways to search out job opportunities.

Negatives include immigration bureaucracy, frequent power cuts as well as brown-outs making a voltage stabiliser essential, the tradition of using only the right hand when eating, the unbelievable amount of traffic and its accompanying noise as well as the cows on the streets. Positives are centred around the friendly, welcoming locals, the delicious food and the sheer colour and vibrancy of this unique corner of the world.

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