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Global Mobility Program: India Relocation Guide

Learn more about relocating to India with Grid Dynamics

How do I know if relocating to this country is right for me?

Geography

India is the seventh-largest country in the world, and also home to the Himalayas, the world’s largest mountain range. Surrounded by water on three sides, the country forms a peninsula with various deserts, plains, rivers, lakes and mountains. 

Culture and population

With an estimated 1.4 billion people, India is one of the most populous countries in the world. It is also one of the most vibrant, colorful and memorable places to visit in the world. Hindi is the official language alongside twenty other recognized languages. The most common religions are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and Sikhism.

Economy and business

India has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. The country is expected to reach a GDP of $3.5 trillion by the end of 2022. Some of the driving factors of the Indian economy are the technology, agriculture and service industries. 

Safety and security

Major cities and tourist destinations in India rank high on the safety index, and violent crime isn’t common in the country. Though India is considered a generally safe country, due to its size, there are more dangerous areas and less dangerous ones. It is necessary that you remain vigilant at all times, especially when it comes to pickpocketing and bag snatching. Women are also advised to never travel alone.

Infrastructure

India is investing considerable money into building its infrastructure. $1.4 trillion has been pledged between 2019-2023 to improve India’s roads, railways, aviation, shipping and inland waterways.

What to do before I move?

Here are a few steps you need to follow before you are planning to move to India:

  • Discuss the possibility with your direct manager.
  • If there is a position for you, the relocation procedure will begin with a call from the Global Mobility Coordinator.
  • Ensure you have all your travel documents in order, and make copies as a backup.
  • Locate the nearest hospital and police station.
  • Find local accommodation, and ensure that it is pet friendly if you have pets.
  • Carry hand sanitizer, mask, medical supplies, mosquito repellants, and general OTC meds in a medical aid kit in case of emergency.
  • Immunisations against Cholera, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese B Encephalitis, Malaria, Meningitis, Polio, TB, Tetanus & Typhoid are recommended;
  • Ensure you have all medical prescriptions and all prescribed medicines in adequate quantities. 

How will Grid Dynamics help me get there?

Grid Dynamics has a central task team that will guide you during your move.

What to do after I move?

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Once you've arrived in India, you should:

  • Connect with the location head;
  • Connect with local HR and Admin teams;
  • Settle down in your accommodation; and
  • Connect with your project team lead/Delivery lead. 

Residency permit options 

All foreigners (except those from Nepal and Bhutan) require a visa to enter India. A few citizens are eligible to obtain a visa upon arrival. However, only the employees of organizations registered in India are eligible for this type of visa.

Qualifying individuals include, among others, those who are:

  • Employed by either an Indian company or a company with multinational operation including a branch office in India;
  • Employed by a foreign company in India as an expert on a particular project;
  • Employed by a non-government organization;
  • Employed as senior management in an international company.

Otherwise, you need to apply for an E-business visa (lasting 365 days)  or Employment visa.

  • PLEASE NOTE: All foreigners (including those of Indian heritage) visiting India long term (more than 180 days) with an E-Business or Employment Visa are required to register with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO)/Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) of their area’s jurisdiction within 14 days of their arrival in India. 

Banking, Taxes and Healthcare

Banking 

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If you have all your documents in order, then opening a bank account in India is not that big an ordeal. Some banks even offer the option of opening an account online, without needing to visit a branch in person.  

Here is a list of documents that banks in India usually require to open a bank account:

  • proof of identity;
  • residence address;
  • copies of your passport and visa;
  • mobile phone number;

Some banks require account applicants to provide a 12-digit Aadhar number (Indian identification number) and a 10-character tax number. 

For more information about banking, visit the official Unique Identification Authority of India website.

Currency 

If you want to exchange any currency in India, please note that you can only do so at a bank where you are already a customer. However, banks usually do not have the best exchange rates, so it is better to go to the RBI-approved money changer holding an “Authorized Dealers Category – II or Full Fledged Money Changers” (FFMCs) license. The exchange rates there tend to be more in your favor.  

Important note: When going abroad, foreignerscannot take Indian rupees outside of India, and need to convert them into a foreign currency before leaving the country.

Taxes 

Expats who choose to stay in India for 182 days or more are considered tax residents; thus they have to pay taxes based on their local income. 

Some expats will have to obtain a Permanent Account Number which is necessary for filing tax returns etc. 

You can visit the Indian Government’s Income Tax Department website for more relevant information on taxes. 

Hospitals

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In the last few decades, a paradigm shift has occurred in India's healthcare system. There are many different types of facilities available today, including diagnostic centers, hospitals, nursing homes, health clubs, and centers for wellness.

The Indian healthcare system has made notable progress. The methods used to treat different diseases have also significantly improved. The advancement of medical technology is happening very quickly.

For more information about hospitals in India, visit: 15 Best Hospitals in India [Multispecialty].

Everyday life in the city 

Where should I live? 

Although relocating to India might be overwhelming at first, most people get used to this amazingly vibrant country very quickly, and actually start enjoying the variety of traditions, customs and people. 

Best areas to live 

Here is a list of cities that are especially popular among expats:

Hyderabad

Hyderabad is Telangana's capital and largest city. According to a recent survey, Hyderabad, also known as the City of Pearls, is the best place to live and work in India. The city's incredible history embodied in mosques and vibrant bazaars, coupled with its modern office buildings and malls, make for a spectacularly diverse place to live. 

Hyderabad distinguishes itself by having low living costs, and is a great place to live with many housing options, startup opportunities, and high safety ratings. Check out this Hyderabad guide for more information. 

Kolkata

Kolkata is commonly known as the city of joy. This affordable city with breathtaking infrastructure will appeal to any visitor or prospective long term resident. It is much more budget-friendly than Mumbai (although the average income is also usually lower), and visiting restaurants, going shopping, paying for utilities or rent will cost you much less. 

The city is extremely diverse, especially when it comes to cuisine. You can partake in Bengali, Italian, Asian, or Western meals at restaurants throughout the city. 

Puducherry

The city is perfect for those who don’t like the hustle and bustle of big city life. The best part about Puducherry is that although it is not as fast-paced and busy as Mumbai, it still has plenty of entertainment to offer, delighting the eye with its vibrant culture and beautiful scenery. The cost of living in the city is relatively low, and it has a well-developed infrastructure with less congested traffic. 

Chandigarh and Gandhinagar

These two cities are an incredible option for those who appreciate the combination of the urban and the natural, with low costs of living and an abundance of places to see. 

Mumbai

Mumbai is a perfect city for those who are searching for a place which offers vast career and financial opportunities. You’ll enjoy the vibrant lifestyle with a variety of entertainment options, people and experiences. 

How do I get around? 

Public transport

undefined Public transport still remains the primary mode of transport for most of the population in India.

The majority of public transport in Indian cities rely on buses, and many have developed bus rapid transit systems (BRTS) to improve capacities and reliability of the conventional bus system.

If you don’t want to rent a car, you might consider these public transportation options:

  • Cycle rickshaw
  • Tram
  • Auto rickshaw
  • Taxi
  • Bus
  • Local train
  • Metro

Please note that Mumbai and Kolkata are the only two cities which prohibit auto rickshaws from entering certain parts of the city, these being south Mumbai and certain parts of downtown Kolkata.

Driving and traffic system 

In India, cars drive on the left side of the road. One thing to remember is that Indian roads can be pretty chaotic, with loads of reckless drivers. A lot of roads are well maintained, but some are narrow, filled with potholes and insufficient road signs. Although Indian authorities are taking measures to improve road standards, all expats should be prepared for the challenge of navigating via car.

What about my family? 

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Education system 

The school system in India has four levels: lower primary (age 6 to 10), upper primary (11 and 12), high (13 to 15) and higher secondary (17 and 18). The lower primary school is divided into five “standards”, upper primary school into two, high school into three, and higher secondary into two.

Private schools are very popular in India. Expat families usually choose private international schools, as there are hundreds of them around the country. Factors such as learning environment, curriculum, costs, and teaching practices vary significantly from one school to another, so parents must consider these factors before making a decision.

Important links 

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