Back to Bharat: Decoding the Reasons Behind NRIs Returning and Resettling in India

Sangeeta leads the Automotive Practice and co-leads the firm’s Industrial Practice, possessing over 30 years of experience working with multinational companies, a start – up, including setting up a successful entrepreneurial venture. She has been recognized by the firm globally for her excellence in Client satisfaction and Practice Development.

Dreaming of landing a job overseas and immersing oneself in the allure of life abroad is an ambition for countless Indians. It represents more than just employment; it's a ticket to a promising future and a taste of the global stage. However, having been there and done that, an increasing number of them are choosing to return to India. Why? Because they've come to believe that the grass is actually greener on this side!

India stands as a fertile ground for abundant opportunities and wealth creation, hence attracting entrepreneurial talent from across the globe

India's emergence as a global startup hub, combined with robust manufacturing capabilities, a flourishing financial services sector, and technological advancements, has instilled confidence among NRIs in its economic stability and prosperity. This is particularly true for NRIs in engineering, R&D, and Technology in areas such as semiconductor manufacturing, EVs, and renewable energy amongst others, ensuring competitive global-scale remuneration.

Impressively, a staggering 72% of NRIs believe that India provides a stable investment avenue, appealing to both residents and non-residents alike. This perception opens doors for NRIs to diversify their investments, significantly influencing their decision to return to their homeland post-retirement. What makes this survey stand out particularly is that it goes beyond sentimental feelings of coming back home; it shows a significant change in how NRIs view India.

The central government is actively focusing on strengthening domestic manufacturing to achieve self-sufficiency and reduce import dependence, there by shaping a multifaceted landscape. To attract more FDI and foreign investors, GOI has rolled out the production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes across 14 sectors, incorporating a substantial total outlay of ₹3 trillion. Particularly noteworthy is that 80% of this allocation is dedicated to incentivizing the manufacturing of electronics, automobiles, solar panels, and semiconductors. These incentives are meticulously structured around incremental production and revenue over five years on average, adding a compelling dimension to the evolving opportunities in the Indian manufacturing sector.

This strategic initiative not only creates employment opportunities for the local talent pool but also presents an attractive proposition for senior talent returnees.

A closer look at the recent SBNRI survey reveals an interesting pattern: 80% of NRIs in Australia and Singapore, 70% in the UK, 75% in the USA, and 63% in Canada are actively thinking about retiring in India.

However, in certain instances, the decision to return to India is profoundly personal, shaped by matters close to the heart. This is particularly evident among many high-ranking executives at the C-suite level who are considering a move back. A significant portion of these individuals found themselves as the only child responsible for parents back home who depend on them. The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially during its peak, triggered intense anxiety about the well-being of their families.

This personal aspect is intricately connected to the appeal of the hybrid work model. With this setup, returning citizens have the flexibility to work from the office at the Indian headquarters for a few months and then continue their duties from the comfort of their homes abroad.

Another influential factor guiding their decision is the acknowledgment that, even though Indian businesses have modernized, they still hold onto their cultural roots. While proficiency in their respective fields remains essential, the presence of employees with a deeper understanding of Indian culture is a smoother transition.

Looking ahead

As we look ahead, India's economy is forging ahead, poised to achieve a growth rate of 6.2% in 2024—a notable departure from the sluggish performance of Western economies.

India stands as a fertile ground for abundant opportunities and wealth creation, hence attracting entrepreneurial talent from across the globe. While navigating through the hurdles and frustrations might prove to be a challenge, for those who master this art adeptly, the potential rewards are personally satisfying and lucrative.