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British Indians flock home

india Updated: Dec 24, 2006 11:51 IST
Vijay Dutt
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It is the return of the natives — from the land of the sahibs. The Times, London, recently reported that 32,000 naturalised Britons of Indian origin have already made their way back to India, with a view to cash in on the booming economy.

Punjabi immigrants are leading the way. “The community is prosperous. The younger generation has been attracted back by better prospects, no discrimination, and better schooling for their children,” said Southall-based Krishna Bhatia, who migrated to London in 1973. His nephew is studying in Delhi and intends to settle there.

Priyanka Raizada, 23, a law graduate from Essex University, was offered a good starting salary by a London firm, but opted for a job in Delhi instead. “A few years ago, it would have been considered unthinkable,” she says. “In Delhi, I have an apartment, a car and enjoy a better quality of life, though in terms of pounds, I get half the salary.”

With the PIO and dual citizenship schemes, there are no visa restrictions — an inducement for those wanting to retain British passports.

The booming medical tourism sector in India has also helped. There are doctors like Sisir Ray, a general practitioner in England for over three decades, who now does ‘consultancy practice’ in India.

And it is not just the elderly who want to come back to India:

“The number of young people has been increasing significantly,” says Bikhu Parekh, who studied Asian families in Britain.

The passage back to India is part of a bigger trend besetting Britain. While Parekh claims 10 out of 100 Britons are leaving the Old Blighty, a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, published on December 11, stated that around 2 lakh left the country last year with single tickets to various countries.

Email Vijay Dutt: VDutt @aol.com

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