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Foreign pros seeking jobs in India

Madhuri Sehgal in New Delhi | February 11, 2004 11:07 IST

Indian job seekers beware! With a large number of professionals from the United States, the United Kingdom, and African countries seeking jobs in India, competition is bound to rise manifold in the job market here.

Due to outsourcing and job-cuts in countries like the USA and the UK, experts here say that skilled foreign workers from these countries are now exploring new opportunities. And India is fast emerging the most-favoured destination for these professionals.

"Contrary to what had been happening so far, the Indian job market is witnessing reverse migration with lots of foreigners now looking for jobs in India. Although presently the number of such cases is not very large, the process has started," says Kris Lakshmikanth, founder CEO of Head Hunters (India), a recruiting firm.

"As several foreign firms are setting up their offices here in India, experienced professionals from these countries are also on the lookout for jobs and the trend is being witnessed by the top-tier recruitment firms," Lakshmikanth adds.

"Until sometime back it was only expatriate Indians who were shifting to places like Bangalore, Mumbai or New Delhi. However, for last few months, overseas workers have also started showing interest in India and every week the number of queries from foreign professionals is increasing. It is not just because of the feel-good factor," says Anil Mahajan, executive director Talent Hunt Private Ltd, a leading HR firm in the country.

Recruiting firms say that inquiries are mainly from professionals working in the USA, the UK and African countries, but foreign workers from European countries like Germany and Italy are also increasingly showing interest.

A call centre here has employed people from Finland to answer queries for a leading travel portal in Europe, Lakshmikanth says.

According to a recent study by a management consultancy, India has emerged as the preferred destination for relocation of over 500,000 jobs in the next five years by US financial firms.

Elaborating the reason behind this reverse migration, Lakshmikanth says, earlier India was considered a lowly-paid country, but today this is not the case. These days the salaries that are being paid here are globally competitive, hence professionals working in the UK or the USA do not mind coming to India.

Also, in countries like the USA the rate of salary increase is hardly 1 per cent, whereas in India it is about 13 per cent, offering professionals more growth than in the West, adds Lakshmikanth.

"Moreover, not many countries offer benefits like political stability, comfort level and competence at the same time. Besides, countries like Singapore and Hong Kong -- which were earlier attracting lot of foreign workers -- are now reaching saturation point. This stagnancy factor has reduced the number of opportunities available there," says Mahajan.

Experts say overseas professionals from the fields of information technology, biotechnology, research and development, garment industry, hospitality sector and BPO sector are seeking options in India.

Most inquiries are for middle- and senior-level management positions, but people are interested in lower rank jobs too, says Mahajan.

About the effect of this trend on Indian job-seekers, Lakshmikanth says, "We see no negative effect of this new phenomenon as most employers prefer overseas workers only for those positions for which expertise is not easily available in India."

If the trend continues to grow a same pace, then India will soon become a global job hub, Lakshmikanth adds.

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