Mumbai, or Bombay, is rapidly becoming an incredibly popular place for Britons to move abroad and live, work or set up in business. The city is one of the most expensive places to live in the world, the standard of living achievable is exceptionally high, wages are impressive, and according to those who are already living abroad and working in Mumbai – there’s no other place like it!
With much of the rest of the world wallowing in financial gloom and facing a recession and very hard times, there are certain parts of the world that are prospering – and India is one of them. Having avoided sharp banking practices and poor economic management, the nation is prospering and continuing along its path of advancement and development.
Some may still consider India to be a third world country – but look a little closer and dig into the expat world in Mumbai, and you’ll find living standards and levels of luxury to rival one of the most hedonistic destinations in the world, namely Dubai! And according to HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey, India now ranks in the top ten best places in the world for expatriates to live.
Mumbai is an exceptionally amazing city – it’s incredibly vibrant and lively, yet it feels safe and in some ways familiar to the rapidly advancing numbers of British expats moving to live and work there. According to the very latest statistics from the British government, the rate of migration to South Asia has increased by 100% in five years, and according to sources in India, all are very welcome indeed.
In an incredibly charming statement, Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Shiv Mukherjee is reported to have said that Britons and British born people of Indian origin: “may have different coloured passports but if they want to see [India] and in the process if they want to work, they are most welcome.” This is a far cry from the immigration policies of many Western nations that are afraid to open their doors too wide to skilled migrants.
The expatriates who are moving to live in a location such as Mumbai tend to be dynamic and entrepreneurial, they are seeing the very real opportunities available in the city and that there is plenty of well located and reasonably affordable commercial space from which to set up shops and businesses. However, the one thing facing these expats is that rapidly advancing national and international demand for property in Mumbai is pushing prices through the roof.
It’s hard for a non-Indian national to purchase freehold property in Mumbai, therefore the pressure on the rental market is intense. A decent apartment in a good location will currently cost upwards of four to five thousand pounds a month, and competition for an apartment can be quite intense!
The quality of the newer properties is decent, and in the HSBC Expat Explorer survey that looked at the best locations in the world for expatriates to live in – as voted for by expatriates – India ranked exceptionally highly. The nation was one of the top two in terms of the salaries expats earned, with almost half of the expats living and working in India claiming to enjoy a salary in excess of £100,000 a year. Higher salaries tended to mean the expats in India were also able to save and invest more – although the expats in Mumbai will maybe tell a different story.
Not only is the city expensive and very chic, it is also home to exceptional shopping and leisure amenities as well as great bars and restaurants. What this means is that many are working hard and playing harder, and enjoying the benefits of a taxation friendly, high salary! Expats from the UK will feel familiarity through the brand names on the high street in Mumbai – where Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Chopard led, Debenhams, Next, Marks and Spencer and Mothercare have now followed!
Expatriate support networks are in place across the city – there’s a great list of some of the clubs and groups available on the meetup.com website. Interestingly the numbers of parent and toddler groups for expats is also on the increase, showing that Mumbai is not just a city for the transient expat to make a fast buck in, rather it is being considered more as a lifestyle destination for expatriates looking for a favourable destination in which to live, work and raise a family.
To get a work visa or a business visa to go and live in Mumbai, you will need to check your eligibility and the criteria you must fulfil to be granted permission to relocate. Generally speaking the criteria depend on your nationality, and it is relatively straightforward to secure permission, especially if you’re going to be starting a business that employs locals and/or contributes to the national economy, or you have a job offer from an employer. To find out more, visit the High Commission of India’s website for your particular country.