Expatriation in India

The current professional environment is getting more and more global every day. Companies need to develop their activities always further from their original location. Markets are permanently enlarged by a boarders’ opening for example. Actually, national workforces are getting more and more diverse and international, with people sent by their companies for punctual or longer mission abroad. Even if it is difficult to manage, a diverse workforce is a real strength for a company. It provides new opinions, new ideas and thus increases innovation within the framework of an international business.

Those are the main reasons why companies’ managements decide to send one of their employees in another country where the company is implemented. It is probably very advantageous for the company in terms of result in employee’s performance but it could also be a very complicated process for the employee. The essay is intended to be a decision-making aid for an employee selected by his/her company to perform a new assignment on the Asian continent in India. Intercultural Management Essay All along this essay, we assume that I am a thirty-five years old executive for a French multinational company which is also implemented in India.

I have just been selected by my company to perform a mission there for three years. I am married and I have two nine years old and four years old children. I already travel during long periods when I was younger for my studies and I know that expatriation is one of the most challenging and stressful experiences imaginable. Even if you think you are completely ready and prepared to leave, you can never guess what unexpected problems would be. Now that I have more responsibility than before with my wife and my children, I know that I need to take time in order to appreciate all implications of moving to India.

This report is a sort of guide for expatriation to India and it will help me to take my decision either to go to India or not. I will first focus on India’s general information such as its history, its culture, its government, its economy, etc. Then, I will try to list as many tips as possible for the day-to-day life in India related to the immigration procedures, economical and financial market of India, real-estate, education, healthcare, etc. I found all information included on this paper mainly from two sources which are Internet sites dedicated to expatriation to India: expatfocus. com and india. lloexpat. com.

All sources are listed at the end of the document in the “List of References”. Speaking about general information about India, I first want to know if I would accept its culture or be able to eat its cuisine or support its climate. I am also interested in reaching my relatives abroad and inside India with my direct family so I need to know what the situation of communication is. Other critical topics must be clarified such as the political situation, is it a safe and secured country where my children could grow up? How will my family and I be able to circulate inside India?

And finally, how is the Indian economical environment? The very beginning of learning what are the traditions and habits of a country where you could go for a working mission is to know some major events of its history. India’s population comes from the inhabitants of the Indus River who developed an urban culture based on commerce and sustained by agricultural trade. This was more than four thousand years ago just before the era of the ancient and medieval India made up of myriad kingdoms. Later, during the fourth and fifth centuries, the Gupta Dynasty reigned over a unified northern India under the India’s Golden Age.

The Hindu culture was dominating at that time. Islam spread across the continent over a period of five hundred years. Between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, the two religions cohabited in peace. It is from 1619 that we saw the first British people in South Asia at Surat. The British expanded their power and influence over the continent until the 1850’s when they controlled most of present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Indians had to wait until the apparition of Mohandas K. Gandhi who transformed the Indian National Congress political party into a mass movement against the rules imposed by the British colony.

It was a parliamentary and non-violent resistance using non-cooperation in order to reach independence. Jawaharlal Nehru became prime minister in 1947 when India became a dominion within the Commonwealth. India became a republic within the Commonwealth after promulgating its constitution on January 26, 1950. After independence, the Congress Party, the party of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, ruled India under the influence first of Nehru and then his daughter and grandson (Allo’Expat, 2007). Concerning its history, it seems to be a rich country with a very interesting past.

It is a great point to know what my first child of nine years old could learn at school if I decide to accept the abroad assignment. Few elements dealing with Indian culture have to be underlined. As it is exposed in the Internet site Allo’Expat, first of all, India is the most diversified country of the world. It is really more heterogeneous than any country around the globe. The current complex demographic profile comes from a meeting and merger of four different major racial groups in India. Two of them met in the old western mountain. They were the pale-skinned Europeans and the dark skinned Dasyus.

The two last tribes were the Aryans dominantly settled in the northwest region of India and the Gangetic plain, and the Mongolians who stayed for a long period of time in the Himalayan region and the highlands of the northeast. In the southern part of India, population is dark-skinned with tightly curled hair which let suppose that this population might have a link with black people. The only true black people are isolated in the Andaman Islands. All those tribes created a real melting pot in India which makes it a real crossroads between different cultures.

Personally, I love to learn about cultures and I think it is really enriching for my children’s self-realization (Allo’Expat, Culture of India, 2007). One question appears at that moment: are strangers really welcomed in India within this intercultural environment? Actually, Europeans are seen as people with money, able to corrupt anybody with it. A strong value is given to money in India. The richer you are, the more respected you will be. But I should worry about Europeans’ acceptance in India because there is no hatred within this issue, just a sort of jealousy toward European wealth. The real problem in India is about skin-colored people.

A really bad system is implemented in India which is the one of castes. Indians can actually easily scorn black people. The darker is the color of the skin, the less accepted the person would be and people will reject him/her naming this person as “an untouchable”. Even if there are a lot of black student in India, it is still difficult for them to integrate the society as Indians. The only way to get higher in the acceptance process is to have money. I am not directly concerned by this problem of racism but I think it is important to know this negative point about India to prepare my family to any racist situations (bloggers, 2004).

Changing completely the topic, I am also interested in knowing what my family and I would eat going to India. The diversity of the India is also represented by its cuisines. Few generalities must be known: there is a significant use of spices within India, especially the curry. This could be a little problem for children but it is a question of habit and my wife and I can still cook in a French way. A funny problem for children is that a large percentage of Indian people are vegetarian translating the fact that Indians use a larger variety and proportion of vegetables than any other culinary tradition.

Those are the two main similarities among India but there are a lot of local styles. Another strange particularity for Europeans is that Indians are use to eat snakes such as samosa and vada. On the other hand, we won’t be able to eat a lot of beef because it is considered as a sacred animal by Hinduism. The most famous drink is tea but coffee is also very popular in the southern part. Alcoholic beverages are well spread with local indigenous beverages like Fenny and Indian beer.

Indians enjoy the meal in a particular manner: they eat while seating on the floor or on very low stools, and they use their fingers of the right hand, the left hand being considered as the “dirty hand”. Loving it, children would be happy to know that the Indian fast food industry has seen rapid growth since few decades (Allo’Expat, Cuisine of India, 2007). Thus, food is really different than in France but we will still have the choice to adapt ourselves or still cook using French habits. The principle is to know that there are enough resources to be in good health in India.

Regarding climate and weather, an obstructing element has to be considered: India has a tropical monsoon climate in the southern part called the Deccan plateau between July and September; western region has deserts and coastline. It is nearly the same for the eastern part with heavy rains during the three months of October, November, and December. Northern India has a moderate temperature with extremes during winters and summers (Expat Focus, 2007). India is also affected by natural hazards such as droughts, flash floods, severe thunderstorms, and earthquakes (Allo’Expat, Geography in India, 2007).

In consequence, it is not a really easy climate to live with because even if French are use to rain, it is not comparable to monsoons. It is another difficulty to live in India. There are not so many things to know about India’s government but as an overview, from the conventional long form, the Republic of India is a federal republic composed of twenty five states and seven union territories with its capital New Delhi. The suffrage system is universal and accessible when citizens reach the age of eighteen years old.

The legal system is based on English common law due to the colonization. In consequence, it is supposed to be a safe country where the corruption is limited and where justice is based on a concrete system, internationally recognized. It is a good thing to know that in case of judicial trial, justice would be fair and respected (Allo’Expat, Government in India, 2007). The topic of the economical situation in India is critical to be sure that my family and I would be able to keep our consumption’s habits or that we would probably have to change them.

Current India’s economy is composed of traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a consequent and growing number of support services. Compared to a western European country, India is not at the same level but it is not any more called a developing country whereas a developed country. Indians has a good reputation for paying their debts with adequate foreign exchange reserves, quite stable exchange rates, and a really strong and fast development of software services’ exportation. All those high technology exports are boosting the economy since the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Concerning manufacturing activities, principal sectors are petrochemical production, aluminum and steel production (Mittal Co. now merged with Arcelor), paint and clothes manufacturing, and food processing. They encountered a rapid growth since the year two thousand. For services, there is a very active private commercial sector. Trading services and other businesses of services in India count as a real determining agent for the economy. Another branch met success since few years, it is the tourism sector: many Europeans and other foreigners are more and more attracted by the India destination (Allo’Expat, India Economy, 2007).

About communications, the Indian network is not so developed. The service is said to be mediocre. Services are really concentrated in urban areas. Efforts are made to expand and modernize long-distance network because there is a fast growing number of local subscriber lines’ creation. Only four metropolitan cities are provided with mobile cellular networks. Radio broadcast stations are numerous but they are not in French. To conclude, it is sure that we will have more difficulties to reach each other in India compared to France due to the problem of cellular phones expansion and low quality service of phone.

There are a few number of Internet provider and the speed of it is very slow. This is another negative point for India. We can think about an improvement during the next ten years. The transportation network in India is well developed even if India’s transportation investments declined during the period from the early 1950s to the early 1990s, as it is written in the “India Transportation” page of IndianChild. com Internet site (India Transportation, n. d. ). The car rental system is similar to Europe.

Concerning air transport services, the two major Indian airlines, Indian Airlines and Alliance Air, serve the entire nation and its small towns, and neighboring countries as well. Even if it is always crowded, the train network in India is the world’s second largest railway system with sixty two thousands kilometers. What is interesting is that it would cost half the price for my nine years old child and it would be free for the four years old one. India has also an extensive and well developed bus system. Passengers should ensure that luggage is secured properly and waterproof as it is carried on the roof.

That information has been taken from the “Transport Facilities” page of Indian-Travel. com Internet site (Transport facilities, 2007). Thus, transportation should not be a problem living in India but we still have to be aware of the huge population of India. Walking in cities could be really stressful as Europeans are not use to large populations. The final point to discuss dealing with Indian general information is about India’s transnational issues. There are few disputes with boundaries such as with China and Bangladesh because they are not properly definite. There is also a dispute with Bangladesh over New Moore and South Talpatty Island.

Finally, India and Pakistan disagree on water sharing over the Indus River at the Wular barrage. It won’t be a direct problem for my family and me but it informs us about the internal security. A very bad point is that even if India is the largest producer of licit opium for the pharmaceutical trade, there is also an undetermined quantity of opium serving illicit international drug markets added to illicit producer of hashish and methaqualone. This is probably the most important drawback about India and it could be risky for my children to grow inside a country where drugs are omnipresent.

Information in this paragraph has been found on “Transnational Issues India” page of AlloExpat. com Internet site (Allo’Expat, Transnational Issues India, 2007) This first part of the paper is intended to give general information about India and to see what the good and bad points of the country are. We discussed topics such as history, culture, cuisine, government, economy, and transports that are positive in India and racism, climate and weather, communication, and transnational issues that are negative for this country.

Now that general information has been treated and classified into good and bad points, I now will present what are specific information for expatriates such as visa and immigration procedures, speaking the language, currency and cost of living, banking, taxation, healthcare, education and school, real estate, and I will provide useful tips about cars, housing, and driving. There should not be any problem for visas and immigration procedures. As any time a European citizen travels out of Europe, he/she needs to have a valid passport.

As we learn in the “Immigration Information in India” page of the Allo’Expat Internet site, expatriates need to have a passport valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of intended departure from India. A business visa is valid for one or more year with multiple entries. To apply for an Indian business visa, several documents should accompany the application: a letter from sponsoring organization indicating nature of business, probable duration of stay, places and organizations as well as a guarantee to meet maintenance expenses. A visa with validity between two and five years costs one hundred dollars.

A critical issue appears concerning the real duration of stay: the duration of stay in India for each visit with a tourist or business visa should not exceed six months even if the visa’s validity is for a longer period. Every six months, my family and I would have to go and come back from France. (Allo’Expat, Immigration Information in India, 2007). A special application needs to be done for children to the Indian embassy in France in my particular case. So, it costs at least four hundred dollars for my four members’ family and the procedure lasts at least one month.

Even if there should not be any problem, it is still a heavy procedure and it could represent a bad point to leave to India, but I think all of it could be done by my company, charges included. We also need to know if, as French speakers, we would be understood in India. We can read in the “Speaking the Language” online page of ExpatFocus. com that the official language is Hindi and it is also the mother tongue of around thirty percent Indians. Most official, political, and commercial communications are made in English. Eighteen other languages are spoken in India as regional languages.

The English literacy rate is average: shopkeepers, taxi drivers, and common men speak English. To remain conversant with the majority of Indian people, my family and I should buy a language converter (ExpatFocus, 2007). The major problem is that French is not spoken at all. I do speak English but my wife and my children don’t. I am not sure that they are willing to learn English before to leave. Going there, they are going to be lost and thus not understood by people. It is again a negative point to go to India for work.