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Relocating to India

Many NRIs are simply opting to relocate to India with the Indian economy up by 9% growth last fiscal year thereby nurturing better career prospects for globe trotters and NRIs alike. Even with the onset of world wide recession, India seems to cope better as the Indian economy is primarily based on agriculture. With its large population and a vast number of upward mobile middle class, India is one of the few countries which still has its economy in a vibrant state. There seems to be a reverse brain-drain happening in India with the cycle having come a full circle.

India has become the most favored location for outsourcing and back office operations of several MNCs across the globe. Lower wage levels and ability to speak in English are construed as core reasons for the outsourcing. With opening up of the global job market in the country and accessibility to international lifestyles, many are motivated to return and relocate in India.

But before relocating to India, there are a lot of immigration ties in the other land of opportunity that have to be severed with caution and ease. Relocation should be well-planned and though out.

Things to be done prior to relocating to India

  • First and foremost one has to make up his/her mind very strongly along with the other family members before relocating to India. Only then the D-day of departure has to be finalized.
  • As such, it should be well understood that India is a vast and diverse country and much depends on which part of India one wants to relocate and live in. While in some villages people survive with as low as Rs.20/- per day there are cities like Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore with real estate as high as Rs.30, 000/- per sq.ft.

  • It is necessary to thoroughly understand and appreciate the culture and tradition, religion and language, social etiquette, health care facilities, educational opportunities, Government rules and regulations, monetary system and banking options, local languages and other such intrinsic details about the country.
  • It is important to take all precautions and safeguard with reference to the immigration or non-immigration status in the country before relocation. With several countries like the US changing their immigration policies quickly, it becomes imperative that the families planning to relocate do not violate the existing laws. This is especially true with 'Permanent Resident Aliens', popularly known as 'Green card holders'. These people opting to spend lengthy periods of time outside US should take abundant precautions to preserve their US permanent resident status as prolonged absences from US may present problems on their re-entry.
  • Certain big decisions need to be made with respect to moveable and immovable properties before relocation.
  • In case of residential house property, the options are to sell it, keep it vacant or let it for rent. In case the property has been financed, and the EMI is outstanding, then one has to find a buyer and get the loan transferred.
  • In case there is emotional attachment to the household property, it could be rented out so that a steady income is found and maintenance headaches are also taken care of, provided the tenant is reliable.
  • In case of cars and other vehicles, one can either sell it or take them along to the new place of relocation although it involves a lot of rigorous formalities.

  • In case of living in rented premises, before departure, it is essential to terminate the existing lease with notification to the landlord, inventory check-out, disconnection of telephone and other utilities, cancellation of furniture/household appliances contracts if any, initiating refund claims for security deposits, and completing local repatriation formalities.
  • Children's school or college authorities should be informed.
  • Arrangements for forwarding the mails to the new address should also be made.
  • Similarly information of address change should be given to banks and credit card companies.
  • Money management has to be finalized and what accounts to keep and what amounts to keep have to be decided.
  • All unwanted credit cards should be cancelled. However, it would be recommended to keep one credit card that is fully operational over the Internet; if necessary, a bank account accessible over the web can be opened and kept operational.
  • An inventory of items that should be taken to India should be made. Items that need to be shipped and other items that can be discarded have to be listed out.
  • Arrange to ship things that should be taken to India and all necessary papers including bill of lading has to be kept carefully before departing to India.
  • Final shopping of things that would be taken to India has to be made.
  • Air tickets for travel to India have to be booked.
  • Traveler's cheques, international dollars and drafts have to be collected.
  • The resignation letter to the office can be handed over after booking the air tickets.
  • Pension funds and other financial accounts have to be followed and finalized.
  • In case of decision to sell the car has been made, alternate transport system for use has to be arranged.
  • Unwanted clothes, toys, books and other accessories can be discarded.
  • Friends email addresses, mail addresses and contact numbers have to be updated.
  • Magazine subscriptions should be cancelled. Alternatively inform them of change of address to India.
  • All important papers, documents, manuals and receipts have to be filed and kept safe.
  • The first and last utility bills and credit card statements can be filed for reference and others could be destroyed.
  • Bid adieu to all relatives and friends in the foreign land.

Priority arrangements to be made in the country of relocation

  • Finding a suitable home that meets the requirements in India should be top of the agenda on relocation. Budget and personal preferences come into play here and co-ordinated effort has to be made to search, negotiate the rent, terms and conditions, verification of lease documents and other such issues.
  • The next step is to set up the infrastructural utilities including gas connections, internet and cable connections, furniture and appliances that may be necessary to set up the new home.
  • School or college admissions, car rentals/purchase, recruitment of domestic help, car drivers should be the next in the order of priority.
  • In case, starting a new business venture is planned on relocation, then inspection of properties for setting up the office, short listing properties based on budget specifications, liaison with real estate agencies, purchase and setting up of office equipments and recruitment of manpower for the new office should be taken up.

Relocation support services

These days there are several good and established relocation support services ranging from city to country orientation. They aid in home search, language support, and in documentation, paperwork and other administrative formalities in the country of relocation.

Relocation consultants help both expatriate families who are unaware of the culture and etiquette and standard of living in India as well as NRIs who want to make their home in this country as cozy and luxurious as it was in the 'other' country / continent.

Indian Government and facilities for NRIs

The Indian Government is offering a number of facilities for NRIs/ PIO under RBI guidelines. They may hold, own, transfer and invest foreign currency and foreign security and immovable properties situated outside India if they hold any. They are also eligible to open, hold and maintain with an authorized dealer in India a Resident Foreign Currency account to transfer in NRE/FCNR accounts. There are also exemptions for NRIs returning to India from wealth tax for seven years after return to India.

With the Government providing conductive atmosphere and with global job opportunities abound, a wise investment in India by those wanting to relocate could earn them a handsome profit margin.

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Relocating to India
Relocating to India