IT Pros Returning to India

Business World has a cover story on the 35,000 Indian IT professionals who have returned back to India in the past 3 years:

What could now be called Phase III is an era when the Indian IT industry is at the peak of its confidence, doing high-tech product engineering and even full product development. An era that coincides with the trend of Indian IT workers who prefer to work in India. Says Partha Iyengar, vice-president and research director, Gartner India: “These are not the typical dotcom refugees, but people coming primarily out of choice.” For, most of these are not joining the ranks of bug-fixers or maintenance staff, but are working on product rollouts. “Of every 100 in the US, just about 10 are returning, but this marks the maturing of the Indian IT delivery capability. Soon it will be akin to: can I be in the watch trade and have nothing to do with Switzerland?” says Jerry Rao, CMD, MphasiS BFL Group.

Also see a related story, which has more details on the trend:

Of the 35,000-odd people who have come back in the last three years, Nasscom estimates that at least 10-15% have lived in the US for over 10 years. They are full US citizens who have taken work permits to come to India to test the waters first.

The second group returning are not US citizens, but who hold the coveted Green Card, the first step towards US citizenship. At least 15% of the returnees are in this category.

Of course, in terms of sheer numbers (over 70%), the biggest group of techies coming back today are still those who went to the US on H1-B visas. They’re home either because their visas expired or they were laid off. There are also those who opted out just before it could get worse for them in the US.

Not surprisingly, the homebound techie is bringing a variety of experience. And depending on how long he or she has been in the US, companies here are keen to tap the unique characteristics of the returning geek. Their experience is proving to be the key driver of some of the latest developments in the industry.

I had written about the changing Indian landscape sometime ago in my “Dear NRI” Tech Talk.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.