Back home again

Reverse Migration

Back home again

Skilled professionals are heading home from ‘lands of opportunities’ triggered by an economy on the rise and improved career prospects. While the sixties had opened the path to brain drain, with the nineties, the process of ‘brain gain’ had begun.

Reverse migration, in fact, is gathering speed more than ever. After working in Boston as a computer engineer for a few years, Manjunath Bijjahalli, returned to the City for good.

 “Being the only son to my aging parents, I was more or less compelled to return for family reasons. Even though I had the opportunity to go back, I decided against it as my business venture clicked very well,” says Manjunath, who is now the CMD of Indias-Best.Com.

In fact, surveys show that as many as 60,000 professionals returned to India in 2010.
While some have started their own entrepreneurial ventures, others are comfortably placed and flourishing in familiar surroundings.

A few decades back, there was a mass exodus of professionals to the Middle-East too, once the El Dorado.

While some did strike gold there, with recession, the picture isn’t rosy anymore.
Kevin Treck, who works with IBM, came back to the City after working in Saudi Arabia for a few years.

He had left India in the nineties looking for greener pastures.

“But I reached a saturation point in the company where I was employed. The top posts went to British and Irish nationals. There was no growth there, hence I decided to return,” he says.

“There are not many opportunities in the Middle-East now as these are being given to the ‘sons of the soil’. Our economy, on the other hand, is growing, the pay scale is much higher now and there is no dearth of opportunities,’’ he says.

However, his incentive to return came from his desire to be with his family, he adds.
 It was the changes in the liberalisation policies that accelerated the reverse migration.
“The neo-liberal policies marked the advent of the integration of Indian economy into the global economy,’’ says Manjunath.

“The professional NRIs, who came back to India earlier, were mostly from the medical fraternity. Later, with the growth of IT industry, many NRIs with IT expertise started returning.”

Transition for most of these people were relatively easy. They had the advantage of having worked abroad and now, job portals were wooing them.
Vaidyanathan Gopalakrishnan, who works with the IBM, too returned home after working in Saudi Arabia for a while.

But he says his exposure in the Gulf has given him a wide scope here. “Post 1992, with the liberalisation and the multi-national companies coming in, more avenues have opened. With the economy in the Middle-East hard hit, there isn’t much to look for there,” he says.

“Moreover, there is job security here and the work atmosphere is conducive. But one should explore opportunities outside the IT industry as well. Like architecture, civil engineering, advertising, entrepreneurship etc,” he says.

With the economic situation in the West grim, ‘the American Dream’ seems to have suffered a setback.

Manjunath, who also co-founded the Returned NRI Association, says, “With the crash in their financial systems and the stock market, the West is struggling to cope up with its inflation, unemployment and the GDP growth. Many NRIs, who have lost their jobs in the West, are now seeking the safety of a secure job in India without compromising much on the job satisfaction and other comforts.”

For these professionals, the re-entry was devoid of any hiccup. Indeed, the best of both worlds is theirs.

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