A look at the best countries to live abroad, based on the expat surveys. The ranking is based on economic factors, living experiences and best places to raise kids. Some new leaders are emerging..
Which country is best for an immigrant?
It depends. It depends on what is most important to you and how you rank associated facilities and conveniences.
There are all kinds of surveys where expats are asked their opinion about their destination country and their personal experiences. . The surveys often provide an insight into the expat life abroad.
The main factors that are important to anyone living abroad are:
Economics: The jobs and occupations, employment, earning levels, spending, saving and investing etc.
Living Experience: The quality of life, ease of relocation, social circle, friends and family etc.
Raising Children and family Abroad: The childcare, health benefits, family friendly environment and education etc.
Based on a survey by the Expat Explorer, here are the results – best countries for an expat to live abroad.
Overall Ranking – Taking everything into account – the local economy, living experience and raising a family, here the top countries :
1. Hong Kong
5. United Arab Emirates
6. United States
7. Saudi Arabia
8. United Kingdom
10. Cayman Islands
12. Spain Continue reading “The best countries to live abroad”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh continues to remind NRIs diaspora abroad that they are always welcome back home in India, perhaps more than ever before! He welcomes overseas NRIs to participate in all walks of Indian life…
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh continues to remind NRIs abroad that they are always welcome back home in India, perhaps more than ever before!
During his visit to USA in November, Prime Minister used the term “brain gain” instead of “reverse brain drain”. Thanking the Indian-American community for their contribution in building bridges between India and the United States, he invited the Indian diaspora worldwide to return home.
“Let me take this opportunity to extend an invitation to all Indian Americans and non-resident Indians who wish to return home to India in one capacity or another.”. The Prime Minister said that Indian-Americans no longer had to make a choice about whether to work in India or America, “Modern technology and our flexible policies have opened possibilities of working in both places.” Continue reading “Manmohan Singh continues NRIs courting: Voting Rights and Brain Gain”
Detailed benefits of NRI Bank accounts; the guidelines on how to open one, and related information on the resources available for the NRI accounts overseas.
“It is a wise man who lives with money in the bank, it is a fool who dies that way.” ~ French Proverb
The NRI Bank account is one of the features of Indian banking system that is quite useful for Indians living abroad or traveling all over the world. For those who have one leg in India and the other abroad – especially with banking needs on both sides of the ocean – the NRI account can be a handy tool. Some of the key benefits include:
Convenience: NRI account provides access to the banking system depending upon the local and foreign needs. It allows quick transfer of funds and exchange of currencies.
Time Saving: It gives easy access to your funds. You don’t need to run to a Union bank or call a friend in the middle of the night for a favor.
Diversification: Many of us, who have been scared by the banking system melt-down in Europe or North America, this is one more way to diversify the savings or bank accounts.
Interest: NRI bank account allows ability to compare interest rate and earning potential between home and abroad.
Currency Hedge: This also provides the advantage of minimizing the risk of currency rate fluctuations. If some of your savings are in rupees in India, and rest in dollars in US, then you are effectively hedging against any downward slide in dollar. This could also work against you if dollar value goes up. 🙂
Key steps to open an NRI Bank Account
To open the NRI account, following are the main steps:
1. NRI Or PIO status: The NRI status is pre-requisite for the account application. Make sure you qualify, especially if you have been out of India only for a short period as a visitor. For details, refer to the frequently asked questions on the official site of Indian Government . The web-site also covers information for a person of Indian Origin (PIO) and the qualifications for the account.
Continue reading “NRI Tips: How to open an NRI Bank Account !”
An incident at the super-market; the complex race-relations and underlying subtle racial biases abroad…
It was late evening of Midwest summer – hot and humid month of May. I was running a few errands. My last stop was a local grocery store, just to pick up milk and some fruits before heading home. Already a long day, but winding down!
The line at the grocery store was long, but moving quickly. The whole process of check-out was quite robotic, like an assembly line – the customer stepping up with the items to purchase, the clerk scanning the items, the customers sliding the credit card through the card reader, signing the digital pad, collecting the items along with the receipt, and leaving. And, then next customer, same steps.
The clerk, the name-tag confirming his Indian ethnicity, was quick and efficient at his job.
At my turn, I stepped forward and followed the same sequence. As my grocery items got scanned and bagged in no time. I slid my American-Express through the card-reader, getting ready to leave as soon as the clerk would hand me the receipt.
No receipt. Instead, out of nowhere, the clerk politely interrupted the flow of the line, “Sir, can I see your card and an ID?” Continue reading “Brown vs. Brown!”
Why is it that so many of NRIs find it so hard to adjust abroad? One of the key reasons for our failure to adjust; our inability to adapt to the local language and norms. Here are the key hurdles to overseas adaptation and adjustment:…
NRI Tips: The habits that hinder our adaptation abroad
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” ~ Maria Robinson
Migration from India to a foreign land is often considered a grueling process, probably one of the hardest thing ever for a new NRI; right?
Not really, it is just the start :). Once we get to our new destination abroad, -USA or Canada or England…- the things are not as we imagined. As mentioned before in NRIs and India diaspora – the key challenges abroad!’, the most difficult part is adjusting to the new society, the new culture; and then building a career that matches our professional background and education.
Why is it that so many of Indians find it so hard to adjust abroad? Even after years, we feel strangers in the land that is dubbed a ‘melting pot’ of multi-culture society.
One of the key reasons for our failure to adjust, even after years, is the isolation from the American society and western culture; our inability to adapt to the local language and norms. Many of us find it hard to carry on a real conversation with locals; the conversation that involves local slang and local style.
Here are some of the main reasons that hinder a desi immigrant from being a ‘Roman while in Rome’; the key habits that won’t let us adapt to overseas’ life:
1. Self isolation:This is a natural tendency of early days in foreign land that becomes a habit, a habit of hiding from everybody and everything that is not India; living in an Indian bubble. If our social circle and desi passé speak no English,- not the kind they speak on the street anyways- there is very little hope for a quick adaptation to the new place. Continue reading “NRI Tips: Key hurdles to overseas adaptation and adjustment!”
Irony of the border-line karma of an NRI! India to USA move deals with luck, destiny and fate while looking for a job and career. Exploring ways to improve karma…
As she has planted, so does she harvest; such is the field of karma.~Sri Guru Granth Sahib, The Holi Book of Sikh Religion
Me and my karma often talk to each other. Well actually, I do most of the talking. And, I hope and wish that my karma listens to my one way communications, at least once in a while!
‘The karma has a mysterious way of responding’, so I was are taught. I have never been able to figure out how it works. Our karma is the result of our actions – good or bad; but when, where and how will you see those results is a not a planned outcome, as far as I can tell from my own experience!
To solve these mysteries of my karma, I have tried some out-of-the-box ideas for a long time. I even once befriended a Punjabi dude with the same name – Karma. However, I found out that my karma had nothing to do with my new friend, so we have drifted apart since. Now and then, I still get calls from him, some times in the middle of the night, due to time difference between Jalandhar and Chicago. He mostly calls me to ask for more money; “it will ‘clean’ my karma and make it better”, he says. I tried it a few times a while back, but I did not win any lottery; nor did it help me with any other stuff that would prove this ‘karma cleaning’!
Since I came to USA, I have realized that my overseas karma is no sharper or better than what it was back in India. Everybody used to tell me, “Going to America is a sign of good kismat and good karma”. So, I thought my good karma would follow the glory of my new NRI status. However, I am not-so-happy to report that the whole thing, – this going to America – may be a bit over-hyped. My karma has been quite sluggish, especially during the first few years of my farang experiences. Just like most of the new-comers, I have had my share of overseas hurdles and challenges.. Continue reading “O Karma! Where Art Thou?”
NRIs struggle between the choices for permanent home -India or a home abroad. The career and jobs overseas vs. a bond to culture or family in India – an NRI dilemma.
A choice between comfort of overseas and home country
“No matter under what circumstances you leave it, home does not cease to be home. No matter how you lived there-well or poorly.” ~ Joseph Brodsky
Non Resident Indians (NRIs), the expatriates from India are scattered all over the globe. They are living a prosperous life, at least so it seems. These NRIs are happily settled in these adopted countries, but often frequent their homeland – India, to visit their friends, families and the memories they have left behind. In most of the cases, the NRIs are citizens or permanent residents of these countries; however, they consider India as their true home.
Most of these overseas Indians or NRIs are well settled in the new country. The new culture, the new life and the new comforts have created a strong bond to the new land. Majority of these NRIs help their loved ones to migrate as well; so the whole family unit ends up living abroad.
Even though the ties with the past remain; the family, – especially the younger generation – has a strong attachment to the Western lifestyle. This is the natural influence of local culture and social settings; the natural effect of the long term exposure to the western society. Continue reading “The NRI dilemma: This country or that home?”
Movie viewers abroad are looking for solid contents with solid acting, supported by realistic settings similar to Hollywood films. The modern trend of globalization is encouraging for Bollywood. India is not short on talent; it is just a matter of adjusting to the taste of newly found global audience.
With realistic stories and settings, Bollywood gaining new fans overseas
Bollywood-the Bombay (Mumbai) movie industry- is one of the biggest film production location in the world. There is no shortage of all-time-classic stories, romance or melodrama in the long history of Indian movies. It is not new that many of the Bollywood movies are churned out with English themes in varying tones; some of the major trends over many decades have been:
1. Indian movies with Indian stars in western settings, with a clear cut bias against western society; as in ‘Purab Aur Paschim’.
2. Patriotic movies linked to Indian freedom movement against British rule; such as ‘Kranti’ and ‘Lagaan’.
3. Movies based in a western country or a western society with local social and cultural issues; like in ‘Bollywood Hollywood’ and ‘The Guru’.
Many of these films have almost same concept with some variation: tell a story linked to a western country; expose the vices of such society and then save the day by renouncing the western culture, with the ending focused on some flavor of Mera Bharat Mahaan (My Great India! slogan)…. All these movies, even though made with substantial overseas locations in many cases, are limited to Indian cast and Indian production. The success of these movies is entirely determined by their showing in India and Indian theaters. Continue reading “Bollywood + Hollywood = New fans abroad”
The immigrants from India or NRIs have high rate of success in employment and career advancement abroad. This is due to perseverance, frugality, and self-discipline.
Indian work ethics are worth preserving and imitating
When it rains it pours. Only yesterday, the economy was flourishing in America. Everybody was spending away – buying bigger houses, bigger cars and probably bigger shoes. After all, you need extra room for the bigger ego!
There is a common saying in India that roughly translates to, ‘Size up your sheet before stretching your legs’; it basically means that you should spend within your means.
The American affluence over last many decades ended up creating complacency amongst many, leading to carelessness; many got used to spending beyond their means. And whenever there was a need for money, there was always a bank ready to lend; if nothing worked, the second mortgage was easy to get even when you did not qualify! The home equity line-of-credit was right there for the taking. Things were very rosy.
However, just as a basic law of physics and our mortal existence, everything comes to an end. With time, the tides turned and balance started to shift; a downturn in economy exposed the loopholes in the complacent financial system. The rest is a history: the banks could not recover the loans from the careless borrowers; the falling house prices put a lid on borrowing against the houses…. The mighty capitalist infrastructure, that stood number one in the world, came under the direct assault from capitalism itself. The problem could have been easily averted if everybody had stick to the basic common sense -‘Size up your sheet before stretching your legs!’
The first generation immigrants from India are often negatively stereotyped for their frugality, hard-work and for being too conservative. The fact is that these traits are a commonsense for survival in the new land. Many Indians migrate with only a few items in their possession, with a few bucks in their pockets. The qualities to preserve, work hard and to tread carefully are part of the basic defense mechanism against all odds that they have to put-up with in the beginning. Continue reading “Desi work ethics: Key to success abroad”
Am insight on race relation, social problems and cultural issues for NRIs and people from India living abroad. The social and racial discrimination impacts the minority diaspora……
NRI Tips: Race relations of American society for a newcomer
Most of us leave India and go abroad for work or education. There is an ever-growing line of Indians going overseas to find utopia – looking for the land of their dreams. Going abroad is considered the best stroke of luck; every pundit will tell you that your stars are aligned perfectly for a great future overseas! 🙂
However, those pundits may not know everything about your stars or your future. Some may have warned you about the challenges abroad before, but it is hard to believe anything negative about the land of riches with so many promises; many Bollywood movies are witness to the prosperity abroad 🙂 !
The reality is that living overseas is very different from living in India- your own homeland. The overseas society and the culture provide an eye-opening experience for the new immigrants.
India is a multi-cultural society, people with different languages and customs living in a diverse setting; but they all come from the same race for most of the part. American society, on the other hand, not only has different religions and languages, but also different races. The white majority is followed by rest of the minorities- blacks, Hispanics, Indians, Asians and so on. Even though this multi-race society seems to mingle well at work and in many of the social situations, the racial biases can be seen and encountered on a daily basis. Continue reading “The ABC of Race Relations in USA – India Abroad!”
An NRI abroad faces dilemma of coming back to India or staying put. What is it that holds back the NRIs from going home to their motherland permanently, as once planned?
NRIs Abroad – An unfulfilled promise to go back to India
“So when are you coming back?” is a common question that everyone asks when you are getting ready to leave India to go abroad. Some ask it because they want to know your answer; others ask it because this is the common question for the time of departure. Without thinking for a second, the answer always is, “I shall be back soon, back for good in a few years.”
This is how the departure is justified; confirming that it is temporary, confirming that he or she will be back. This is not out of nowhere, the response is generally based on a promise that every NRI makes, the promise to go back home one day. This is not my promise or your promise, this is a promise that most of us make to ourselves when leaving India. This is the promise that makes the circumstances of family separation tolerable.
However, once we arrive here, – the country we so longed to see – the things are not quite the same as we imagined. The reality takes a hold of the day to day existence. The peer pressure to succeed, the search for opportunities and the struggle to adapt pushes everything else to the back burner. As a result, we become focused on these immediate goals. There is no time to think about 4 or 5 years from now, but to worry about today and tomorrow. The daily grind of short-term goals takes over the life. There is no other way of doing it either. One cannot be day-dreaming about going back tomorrow if today is not resolved.
And then, with every new day and with every new tomorrow, the life goes on; the time creeps along; the days turn into months and years. Many of the short term questions get answered, – the job, the career, the peer pressure – everything gets under control. However, what happens all along is another slow change of life –the family conditions, the new social circle, the growing feeling of being at home…..
And then along come some new goals; there always are new things on the horizon. The promise made to self and others that was coming due gets postponed, becomes overdue. The reasoning could be slightly different from one NRI to another, but there is always a justification. The stronghold of replanted life is just too much.
Nobody seems to think of this broken promise, the forgotten promise to go back permanently. The promise is no longer a promise but a ‘may be’ at best. The new life molds the promise into some sort of justification to stay for a bigger reason, and move on with life. This is true for most of the Indians and NRIs abroad.
We come from the land of spirituality and conscience; the culture where the differences between good and bad once dictated the basis of every religion and every war. How could it be that someone from that land of virtues keeps breaking a self promise? Could it be because it is not so bad to stay; or maybe it is actually better for the new circumstances?..
Or, maybe the promise is not really a promise, but a way of self-deception. A way to justify the dilemma.
The reality is that no one ever knows anything about the future, or what tomorrow might hold. Nobody ever knew much about living abroad, when the journey started a long time ago; a long time ago when the promise was made!
Untold struggles of an NRI. The actual life for an NRI abroad is far different; language barrier, culture shock and peer pressure take a toll on any newcomer.
NRI Tips: The overseas issues and hurdles for a desi or NRI !
Leaving India and going abroad -USA, Canada, England….-is a very big step, a life changing experience in the true sense of the words. To search for a better future, we often leave behind everything- the friends, the family members, the social circle and the personal identity in most cases.
It is a very common perception, – and true to an extent – that going abroad will improve our life and the lives of those who depend on us. It is always made to sound all too easy to settle and prosper in Western countries as an NRI.
The overseas life is always portrayed to be full of luxury and without hardships. The big mansions and large farming lands in any neighborhood of India are invariably linked to those who have gone abroad.
But, this is far from the real truth. There is no doubt that many of these countries are considered the land of opportunities with a lot of promise. The amenities of daily life and conveniences of a developed society combined with buying power of the dollar offer a lot of lure and attraction.
However, the reality is far different and a newcomer from India is hit with the real truth about life soon after deporting the plane. What was taken for granted till yesterday – the language, the education and common social behavior – is all up for recalibration in the new land
The facts is that the challenges overseas are very real and hurdles to succeed are much higher for a foreigner. It is not one or two isolated issues but a combination of many such problems that create the real experience abroad, an experience quite different than anyone expects.
Here are the key challenges that a newcomer encounters overseas: Continue reading “NRIs and India diaspora – the key challenges abroad!”