For Indians, the United States has long been the most sought-after country for higher education and employment. Recent data, however, seems to indicate that the trend is reversing, with more Indians seeking jobs outside of the United States, or simply moving back to India.
According to a report published in The Economic Times on Oct. 17, “As per recent data released today by global job site Indeed, there has been a 38 percent decrease in Indians looking to move to the United States and a 42 percent decrease in Indians eyeing the United Kingdom in 2016.”
The report did note that political considerations, specifically a threatened reduction in H1-B visas in the United States and Brexit in the United Kingdom, may have discouraged job seekers from seeking jobs in those countries. Not surprisingly, there has been an increase in Indians seeking IT jobs in other lands, 10 percent in Germany and 20 percent in Ireland.
Why are things changing now and what is the exact scene on the ground? Over the last three decades, Indian’s IT industry has experienced a boom, first with call centers and more recently in software development. The IT sector now employs more than 3.6 million people directly, and another 12 million indirectly in allied services.
This explosion in positions has made it possible for IT professionals to more easily find jobs similar to those offered in the United States and the United Kingdom. Simply put, skilled Indian professionals with the right credentials and certifications have a plethora of good employment options here at home.
The trend of giving up overseas jobs and returning to India started in the late 1980s, as more multi-nationals set up operations in country and more homegrown enterprises entered the market. Since then, approximately 20 percent of Indian workers employed overseas have been coming home each year.
Indian professionals return to Mother India for a variety of reasons like family responsibilities and health, the culture, or just a desire to do social services among our own people. I personally gave up my job in the United States and returned to India almost 15 years ago. My children’s education was the primary consideration that led to my return.
My decision was simplified by the fact that there were plenty of jobs for me to take up on par with the one I had in the United States. The transition required minimal effort and life style changes were not drastic. Salary was the only downside, as salaries in the United States are still considerably higher than those offered by Indian IT companies.
The current political factors in the United States and the United Kingdom may have slightly increased the number of people returning home — but this is not a new or recent trend. The press has been writing about how H1-B visas are being refused and rejected by the current U.S. presidential regime. But the truth is that stricter scrutiny of visa applicants will make our IT industry stronger by preventing misuse and fraud and demanding better training.
The recent restrictions on such visas saw, among other things, an increase in minimum annual salaries of almost 30 percent. U.S. companies know that employing the best is a key factor for success, and they also know that, in their search for the best, they should always look beyond their own borders.
Political considerations may bring in some restrictions on the number of visas issued, but there will always be opportunities available for those with the right skills. Organizations are adept at finding new ways and means to utilize good employees across the globe.
One way they do it is to establish offices in other locations and move people into those offices. I have known people who moved back to India from the United States and continued to remotely work on the same jobs for many years — even when their companies did not have an Indian office.
Contrary to what studies from job portals suggest, one would have expected visa restrictions to have increased the demand for taking up jobs in the United States. In truth, the opposite may have happened as companies likely reduced their intake of H1-B visa workers, as the salary increase would have impacted their profit margins.
Another reason often given for why Indian and other foreign workers are leaving the United States is that companies are increasingly setting up more onshore or nearshore facilities. Additionally, an improving economic environment and government initiatives like “Make in India” have increased opportunities for IT workers.
Overall there does not appear to be a large rush for Indian IT pros wanting to exit the United States and return home. The United States is a very desirable place to live and work and is still the number one country that Indians would like to immigrate to — 49 percent of Indians report that they are willing to “explore job opportunities” in the United States.
IT jobs have always fostered two-way traffic, however, and this movement has proven beneficial for the industry and especially so for the employees. Organizations can find better skilled resources with the churn and employees have more opportunities available.
In the earlier years, before the advent of IT in India, it was rare for Indians who took up jobs in the United States to return home. Similar jobs were simply not available, and the gap between the salaries was larger, making it difficult to decide on taking a return flight. In India now, jobs are more abundant not only for IT, but also for healthcare, aviation and many other white-collar industries.
With globalisation and the advancement of technology, it has been said that the world is getting flatter and smaller. Anyone can apply for a job anywhere and businesses now need to go through a rigorous process of making selections from across countries.
All the better for the businesses, because they can select the best available candidates. Apart from a few exceptions, most IT jobs are now available across the globe and job aspirants have greater options in choosing their preferred locations.
If you are an IT pro aspiring to work in a certain country, with a little effort, that dream location is within reach. Acquire the right skills and certifications and go for it. Referring information available in our website, GoCertify.in or on GoCertify.com, could be the first step in your quest for acquiring the right skills. With the proper training and experience, there is no stopping you from taking up a job anywhere in the world no matter what the politics or culture of that place may be.