Life & Work in India

Language

The official language of India is Hindi, which is spoken by approximately 30% of the population. English is also prevalent and is the major language of the trade and service sectors. There are an additional 14 other official languages and 37 different languages in total spoken throughout the country and each state has its own language. Hindi is commonly spoken in the upper half of India. However, Southern India, especially the four southern states, have very few Hindi speakers and many more English speakers.

Climate

India is a vast country with diverse weather patterns. There are generally two seasons in India; a rainy season and dry season. From October to March, the weather is, on the whole, drier and mild. Monsoons and flooding are common during the rainy season.

India has four different climatic regions:
Alpine Zone: High altitudes of Himalayas. Different types of climate are experienced in these zones as a result of deviations in the altitude. The weather generally consists of high temperatures and low rainfall.
Sub Tropical: Northern India. Hot wet summers and cold, dry winters.
Tropical: Southern India. Very hot and humid.
Arid: Western India. High temperatures and low rainfall.

Visas

After securing yourself employment in Bangladesh, you will need to take the necessary steps to ensure that you have the correct visas ready prior to your departure.​ This documentation process takes some time, so be sure to plan ahead!

To start, as a future expatriate working in Bangladesh, you will most likely apply for a tourist visa. This type of visa allows you to be in the country for 30 days, depending on your country of origin. Be sure to consult with your nearest consulate to figure out which visa is the best for your journey to Bangladesh.

 To be considered for a Bangladeshi visa you will need the following documents: valid passport, hotel confirmation, letter of invitation, letter from company & Letter of invitation from company based in Bangladesh including the traveler’s name and passport number (For business travelers, only).
Some individuals do not need a visa depending on their country of origin. Check with the closest Bangladesh consulate to find out if you require a visa before beginning your journey abroad.

Facts & statistics

India, officially the Republic of India, is a sovereign state in South Asia, where it comprises the bulk of the Indian peninsula. It is the 7th largest country in the world by land area, and the second most populous, with a population of over 1.2 billion people.

india-flagThe Capital: New Delhi
Main Cities: Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta), Chennai
Population: 1.2 billion
Size: 3,287,263 sq km (1,269,346 sq miles)
Major Religion: Hinduism is by far the most prevalent, with almost 80% of the population describing themselves as Hindu
Main Languages: Hindi, English
Climate: Due to its large size, the Indian climate varies depending on location, though predominantly it is either tropical or sub-tropical, with heavy winter and summer monsoons
Life Expectancy: 67 years (men), 70 years (women)
Dialling Code: +91
Emergency Numbers: 100 (police), 101 (fire), and 102 (ambulance)

Cost of living in India

The majority of cities in India offer expatriates a very good standard of living for a relatively low cost and the majority of expats live quite affluent lifestyles. The cost of most things, including entertainment, education, housing and food is lower than that in western countries, even within the developed cities such as Mumbai and New Delhi. According to the Mercer cost of living survey in 2012, New Delhi (113) and Mumbai (114) dropped considerably in the list of the most expensive cities in the world in which to live – by 28 and 19 places respectively. For full and comprehensive details of the cost of living in India, please see our relocation guide. It contains an insider’s view of the living expenses here and covers everything from the price of groceries through to the cost of paying for your child’s education.

Etiquette & customs

 

Indian etiquette is an unusual mixture of British and Asian influences. Therefore in some ways their customs will seem familiar to westerners, and in other ways they differ greatly.
Some of the ways in which Indian etiquette differs from western etiquette are as follows:
Dining etiquette can be very different in India. It is considered proper to eat with your hands, and in a lot of restaurants or when you are eating with locals, cutlery may not be provided, though in most places spoons can be provided if asked for. If you do try to eat using your fingers, make sure you only use your right hand and not your left, even if you are left-handed, as the left-hand is considered to be ‘unclean’. Also, as common sense would suggest, your fingers will be dirty from eating with them, and as such do not try to serve yourself so as to avoid dirtying the serving spoon, but wait to be served by a waiter or your host.
Sharing of food is good Indian manners, and it is common in restaurants to order a number of dishes and share them all between the members of your party. However, never share cutlery or drink from someone else’s glass or take food from someone’s personal plate, as this is considered very offensive. Never say ‘thank you’ at the end of a meal, but praising the food and showing your appreciation as you eat will be well received.
Social etiquette varies greatly across different regions. In general, if you are planning to host an event to be attended by Indian people, then expect them to be late. Contrary to in Western society, it is considered bad manners in India to arrive on time, and good manners would be to arrive 15 to 30 minutes late. It is also acceptable for invited guests to bring other guests with them such as friends or business colleagues. As such, when providing food and drink it is always better to over-cater and to organise a buffet rather than a served meal. It would also be a good idea to telephone all of your intended guests the day before an event, as this is considered polite, even where written invitations have been sent out before-hand.

Business meeting advice (if doing business in India)

When first meeting someone, it is common to be introduced to them by a third party. Indian culture places a great deal of importance on personal relationships, and many business relationships will be built upon a personal foundation. Therefore being introduced by a mutual acquaintance will stand you in good stead.
As a result of British colonial influence, handshakes are the standard greeting in a business environment. Be aware, however, that in a lot of situations it is not normal for men and women to shake hands with each other due to religious influence, so keep your eyes open to try and see what is expected by the people you are meeting with.
If meeting with a group of people, be sure to greet each person individually rather than addressing them as a group. Due to the influence of hierarchical Indian social structure, the oldest or most senior person present should be greeted first, followed by the next most senior, and so on.

Business Meetings

The work day in India typically starts at 10am, though in major cities it can be considerably earlier, so if in doubt schedule meetings no earlier than mid-morning. It is considered good manners in India to be slightly late, so make sure you factor this into your schedule. However, you should also be aware that Indian businesspeople who are used to dealing with westerners may expect you to be punctual.
It is common to exchange business cards on first meetings, and small gifts such as sweets would also be well received. Avoid touching, other than the initial handshake, as this is considered rude.
Normal business dress for both men and women is western in derivation, and it is common to see suits and ties on men, and pant-suits or long skirts on women. If you are not used to the heat of a tropical country, make sure you try to dress smartly yet in a way that you will be comfortable.
When talking to Indian people, make sure to be aware of your body language, as much significance will be attached to it. Avoid “aggressive” postures, such as folded arms or hands on hips, and also avoid putting your feet up on furniture or pointing them at another person, as, like the left hand, the feet are considered unclean. Be aware that sustained eye contact is not necessarily usual, especially when speaking to someone of a lower or higher status.
When negotiating agreements, expect there to be many rounds of back and forth. In India business decisions are rarely made quickly or lightly, so it is important not to get frustrated by any delays you experience.

Names

Titles are important in India, and as such people should be addressed formally, i.e. title (Mr, Dr, etc.) and surname. Only use someone’s given name if they have expressly given you permission to do so.

Management advice, when managing Indian employees

This section will be particularly helpful if you are relocating to India and intend to work.
There are a number of factors to have in mind when managing Indian employees.
The Indian approach to business roles is generally formal and hierarchical. Therefore a boss is expected to be a boss, and to act as such. Avoid doing tasks that would normally be completed by someone at a lower level than you, as this is likely to damage your reputation and your credibility.
Decision-making in Indian companies tends to be top-down, and therefore junior staff will expect to be given clear and comprehensive instructions rather than coming up with their own ways of working. If you are in middle-management, then avoid making decisions or devising strategies unless you have already been given the green light by top management, otherwise you may not receive it.
When making small talk with Indian people, avoid touchy or taboo subjects, such as India’s poverty, the caste system, immigration and any difficult areas in international relations. If you are looking to make conversation you would be well advised to talk about sports, particularly cricket, or to ask them questions about their country, as Indians are rightly very proud of their country’s long and rich history and culture.

Advice for relocating to India

If you are considering moving to India for work, then here are some useful tips that will help you find your feet:
If you are planning to move to India and then look for work, you should be aware finding employment in India can represent a significant challenge, and salaries offered are likely to be up to 25% lower than what you would expect in western countries. Most expats moving to India will be on assignment with international companies, however increasingly Indian companies are also starting to look globally when brining in new talent. In either case, it would be much better to secure a posting before relocating.
Be advised that if you intend to remain in the country for more than 180 days, then you are required to register at the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office within the first 2 weeks after your arrival, so make sure you do this promptly.
You should keep in mind that India is still in many ways a developing country, and as such many things that people living in Europe and America take for granted, such as clean running water and a reliable electricity supply, are not always in place. Expect frequent power outages, and if you are using computer equipment we would recommend that you invest in surge protection and UPS.