Chasing the Indian Dream

  • 13 October 2012
  • From the section India

Decades ago, millions of Indians left their country in search of a better life in the West.

The contribution of Indian immigrants around the world has changed the landscape of many nations - in business, healthcare, popular culture and cuisine, to give just a few examples.

But today, there is a reverse trend on the rise. Thousands of people from the West are packing their bags and heading to India.

Image caption Valerie, 29, from the US. "India is not for the faint-hearted. But the opportunities are so exciting. No market is saturated, and there's a lot of room to innovate."
Image caption Rahul, 37, from the US. "My parents had anticipated that I'd go back to the States, but five years later I'm still here."
Image caption Elise, 30, from UK. "India has an exciting arts scene, and I'm working on the kinds of projects that wouldn't be possible back home."
Image caption Marco, 25, from Italy. "There is very little globally-focused work in Italy. The economy isn't doing well. Mumbai was very tough to start with but I've acclimatised and I now love it."
Image caption Igor, 23, from Brazil. "I wanted to work in another Brics country to broaden my knowledge and take that home with me. Whenever I tell anyone where I'm from, their eyes light up."
Image caption Sean, from the US, and Archana. "For us the Indian Dream is the chance to bear witness to the incredible transformation happening in modern India and hopefully nudge it for the better."
Image caption Vir, from the US, and Malika, from Canada. "Our dream is to embark upon exciting opportunities and positively impact society. The difference is that in India right now, across many levels, it's possible."

A few decades ago, the idea of India as a place to further a career or seek a better quality of life might have been unthinkable, but today, the country is attracting high-calibre graduates and professionals who are pursuing just that.

Between March 2009 and 2010 alone, a record 30,000 people left Britain to settle in India, lured by the economic opportunities the country now offers.

The International Monetary Fund predicts a growth rate of 4.9% this year. This might be lower than in previous years, but it's still attracting expatriates who see little opportunity in the West. Britain remains in a recession, for example.

Many of those making the move are the children of those who once left.

In 2005 the Indian government allowed the children and grandchildren of those born in India (as well as those who'd given up citizenship) to apply for lifelong visas, making it much easier for people of Indian origin to move to the country. Since it began more than 1.1 million people have taken up this offer.

Moving to an emerging economy such as India brings with it challenges as well as opportunities.

In an eight-week season, "The Indian Dream", the BBC will be exploring this trend, and speaking to people who are part of it.

We want to hear from you. You can contact BBC journalists @Rajiniv and @HasitShah on Twitter, where you can also join the conversation and share your thoughts using the hashtag #bbcindiandream.