Overseas Indians Shelving Plans to Return Home

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With the Indian economy clocking a 9% growth last fiscal, the lure of a better career had several NRIs charting their return plans. Many had, in fact, almost started the winding-up process in mid 2008 to relocate to the homeland in 2009-10.

However, following uncertainty in most sectors here and job cuts staring at the economy, most of them have developed cold feet and shelved their plans, thereby stalling the reverse brain drain for now.

For NRI Pranay Patel, 29, an Australian citizen, a challenging job as an IT service provider to the Aussie government was reason enough to hold him back. However, the desire to return to his family in India and make the major IT hub of Pune his new destination made him chart plans to shift to India by 2009-10. However, Mr. Patel has now put his plans on the backburner.

He told ET: "I was to appear for interviews in December 2009 so that I could shift to India by 2009-10 end. However, after interacting with friends who are CEOs of software firms in India, I realised that I could go wrong if I were to relocate at this point in time taking into consideration the few IT projects on hand at present. Going by that calculation, companies will not like to go for a high-salaried employee and, hence, I have shelved my plan."

There are more like Mr. Patel who would rather stay put in their respective countries than look homewards for the time being.

The situation is worrisome for NRIs settled across continents. Be it Aadarsh Pillai, 31, working with Tunakopesha, an NBFC in Tanzania, or Rahul Desai, 30, employed as a design engineer in North Carolina (the U.S.) or chemical engineer Rajesh Shah, 39, serving in an oil-field supply company in Dubai, the uncertainty of finding a job in the Indian subcontinent under the present circumstances has compelled them to go back on their decisions.

Mr. Pillai, who had purchased a residential property in Gandhinagar to ensure a roof when he were to relocate in November 2009, said: "We were keen to move back for a better career. Gujarat, being an industrially developed state, seemed an ideal destination to us. Further, my wife, who specialises in pharma-product management, would have found Gujarat an ideal career destination. However, having realised that Ahmedabad is one of the worst hit cities in India after Delhi and Mumbai, we have decided to put our plans on hold for at least two years."

Mr. Desai, who was eagerly waiting for his project to finish in October 2008 so that he could pack his bags for India, is wary of his decision now. Perhaps, none other than Joe Anthony, a Thailand-return executive working with a MNC in the hospitality sector incharge of India operations in Bangalore, knows it better.

"I regret my decision to etch out a career in the hospitality sector, going an extra mile to convince the company to open an office in India. My career does not look promising now that major hotel-expansion plans have been postponed," says the 33-year-old who is now warning his brother-in-law Rajesh Shah settled in Dubai to stay put. Mr. Anthony returned to India in 2007-08.(Some names have been changed to protect identity.)

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