Destination focus — Relocating talent to India? Things to consider to make their move easy
A booming economy helped by multinationals diversifying out of China means India is an expat destination in demand. But like most hotspots, you’ll need to be fast, informed, and efficient if you or your teams want live, work and thrive there.
In this edition of Reloverse, our people on the ground offer some useful pointers on what to do to stay competitive and compliant in this amazing land of opportunity.
India is home to the largest expat population on Earth. Engineering, banking, manufacturing and tourism professionals are drawn by the country’s culture, beauty and competitive cost of living. But with the world’s highest GDP growth rates, driven by multinationals spreading sourcing away from China, demand for homes and school places is high. It takes expert knowledge and agility to negotiate and navigate in a fast-paced market, so what can Global Mobility and HR teams do to compete in complete compliance?
The subcontinent has a bit of an unfair reputation for being bureaucratic. Systems can seem slow but are less restrictive for organisations seeking to spread risk and realise opportunity away from China than many ASEAN countries. India is the world’s largest democracy, with a relatively stable government, and as of January 2023 is the planet’s most populous country. The government also believes it can triple exports by 2030 to almost €2Tn, despite battling slow global headwinds. So, it’s a business-first economy that’s pretty easy to be part of—if you follow the practices and procedures and have a partner like Santa Fe to help you.
Permits and permission
All foreign nationals need permission to spend professional time in India. Any stay over 180 days is considered long-term, requiring a visa in advance that also needs to be registered within 14 days of arrival. Choosing the wrong type of permit for your talent can mean a lot more than a lengthy paperwork exercise—it frequently results in airport detention and deportation, prohibiting applicants from returning, even when it’s the result of a simple administrative oversight.
A place to call home
Finding the right home in the right place for relocating employees can be a bit of a lottery. There are English-language newspapers and several online portals, but commissions can be high. If you’re dealing with agents directly, ensure they’re given a clear, written brief setting out budgets, size and expected standards—and be wary of companies charging fees for viewings. The market moves fast, but don’t be pressured into accepting something off brief. Once you’ve secured a property, the services your staff will enjoy are generally excellent and inexpensive—particularly communications, internet and TV.
If you’re choosing a Global Mobility partner, try to pick one with genuine representation in country instead of a network of partners. They should offer Destination Services advice before, during and after the move: whilst there’s a lot you can learn online, it tends to talk about India as a single society and culture. Raising a family in Mumbai is very different to setting up home in Bengaluru. An experienced relocation partner will also ensure things are in the right place at the right time, and you comply with restricted items regulations. In India, almost any man with a van will claim to be a mover—but it’s the detail that matters when it comes to compliance. Support for your assignees also includes understanding customs, prohibited items and rules on what currency, belongings and effects they can and can’t bring in or take out.
Tushar Sawant, Santa Fe’s Sales Director for India, says “When it comes to moving in or out of India, compliance is key. Trying to find all you need to know online can lead to missed verifications, cancelled visas and is a steep learning curve, even for seasoned professionals. With so much interest from global organisations, the environment is pressured. Taking decisions rapidly can leave Global Mobility and HR teams exposed to risk, so a proper partnership with feet on the ground is essential”.
If you’re looking for an expert relocation partner that understands compliance for moves in and out of India, we would love to support you and your teams. Simply drop an email to either of our experts:
Sales Director, India
General Manager, India