5 things to consider while house hunting for your expat employees

Rich and vibrant India represents a sixth of the world’s total population. And although historically millions of people moved away from India for better job opportunities, the reverse trend is taking shape slowly and surely. A growing number of people are moving to India from across the world to excel professionally and to enjoy a fulfilling expat life. Some figures suggest that 30,000-35,000 expats move to India each year. These are top professionals with niche profiles. Given the rate of growth of India’s economy, this number is expected to grow by at least 10% each year in the coming years. But there’s no need to tell you this -your organization is probably one of those making the most of the expat wave already.

You expat employees will probably find themselves in a completely new and unfamiliar environment when they move to India. India is a land of diversities – from different languages, religions, cultures, foods, and ethnicities, it offers a dynamic mix of everything. The cultural differences can be overwhelming, but over time, most acknowledge and appreciate the magic of India’s ancient heritage, its multi-layered life, and its overly populated, yet pulsating cities.

Things to Consider

Living in India can offer your expat employees a zest for life, but for that to happen, it is essential to find the right place for them that they can call home! When looking for a place for your expat employees, several factors are important. Let’s look at the top 5 things to consider while house hunting for your expat employees:

  1. Location is key: The rate at which Indian cities are growing has caused the real estate market to boom. But considering the vast distances and the traffic situation, you should make sure that the accommodation you find for your expat employees is close enough to their workplace to make the commute bearable, but in an area that suits their status and lifestyle. Is the pin code prestigious? What is the typical profile of neighbours? Are there other expats living in the same society or close by? How is the power situation? The water situation? Does the society have full power back-up? These are the kind of considerations that go into defining a location as worthy of your most valuable employees. This may push the rent up a bit, but you know that the health and happiness of your expat employees and their families is worth that extra rent.
  2. Healthcare proximity: Although living in India is pleasurable and an adventure in its own way, it takes time for anyone to get used to India’s way of life. A sudden change in weather, climate, water, and food can have an adverse effect on expats coming from different climates and situations. Hence, proximity to a high-quality hospital or a clinic is essential in case of an emergency. In many societies today, facilities like an on-call doctor for quick diagnosis and treatment are also available.
  3. Security: Even though most modern societies and communities in India have security personnel, thefts and robberies are, unfortunately, not uncommon. Since the safety and security of your expat employees is your highest priority, it is crucial for you to look for houses that have good security measures in place – watchmen manning entry and exit gates, CCTV cameras that monitor important locations such as receptions, elevators and lobbies, and video intercom systems that ensure only people known to your expat employees can enter the premises.
  4. Transparent and ethical outlook: It is an unfortunate fact of the real estate sector that there is no dearth of people looking to earn a quick buck. This means that in the process of finding and finalizing a house for your expat employee, there will likely be a slew of shady people you will encounter. Inducements will be hinted at, promises will be made with no intention of honouring them, and the property will be aggressively oversold. You must ignore these for the sake of your expat employee who has to make a home there. What’s most important is for you to ensure the whole renting process and everyone in it including the landlord, broker, agent, and registering authority must be honest, transparent, and should follow the law of the land at every instance. Ensuring your expat employees live an untroubled life in India should be your main priority. Hence it is essential you look for listings that are verified, ensure that all the paperwork is done in accordance with the law, and only choose to work with ethical parties to avoid any possible issues in the future.
  5. Spirited locality: They say, home is where the heart is. And for expats coming to India, it is your responsibility to make sure they feel at home. Expats, especially those that shift with their families, usually value work-life balance. This means they are most like to prefer a spirited and friendly locality with welcoming neighbours, helpful staff, and fine dining and entertainment close by. For your expat employees with children, a well-maintained park in the society and an appropriate school in the vicinity is also essential to ensure the children are just as comfortable and happy in their new home.

Home away from Home

For the thousands of expats coming to India, each day is a new learning experience. While some might get overwhelmed by the complexity of the Indian way of living, many take to it like a fish takes to water. However, for all of them, finding the right house for them is an essential first step. When they do move back to their home country -more than their workplace, they will tell tales of their home. Don’t you want those tales to be happy stories?


A checklist to give to your expats employees before they move to India-By Vikas Roongta-Founder, Lexagent Expat Relocation

India boasts of a rich and diverse culture across its geographical boundaries. India is divided into 29 states and each of these states has its unique cultural background be it food, festivals or the regional dialect. But, moving to India and getting acclimatized to the cultural changes can be overwhelming for some. For organizations, introducing expats to the Indian culture can be a complex process. For one, it’s impossible to give a deep insight into India all at once. However, a brief introduction to India can help your employees get off on the right foot. Here’s a curated checklist of some essentials, expats should know of, before moving to India.

  1. Visa Guidelines

The visa guidelines are the first and foremost thing that one should know about a country they are planning to move to. Before hiring expats you need to nail down the visa formalities and other guidelines like duration, renewal process etc. This is critical -so pay it more attention than anything else!

  1. Weather

Besides the Indian culture, expats often face difficulties in getting accustomed to the high temperatures and the high humidity in the country. You need to inform your incoming expats regarding the average temperatures during summer and winter in the city that the expats will be living in. You can help them in packing right for the region they will be based in.

  1. Driving Rules

Many countries have right-hand side driving. It is important to inform the expats about the left-hand side driving as well as the traffic rules followed in India before they step out on the roads. That, and the barely-organised chaos that rules Indian streets -your expat employees should be prepared to deal with numerous near-misses and scrapes each day they’re on the road.

  1. Currency

It is always good to mention the exchange rate of INR with the expat’s home country at the very start. This will help them in managing their money efficiently while in India. In addition to this, help them in understanding the value of the Indian rupee to safeguard them from local vendors that are always on a look to dupe foreigners with high prices.

  1. Major Festivals & Holidays

India is among the countries with the maximum national and public holidays. Help the expats in understanding the major festivals celebrated across the country along with regional festivals that they should be aware of. Provide them with a list of major holidays and festivals observed in the country and the particular region they are residing in. This will impact their work, the schools their kids go to, and the hired help they keep at home.

  1. Introduction to the City

Introducing India to the expats can be a tedious task initially. In order to avoid confusion and time, start with a guide to the city in which they will be living. Focus on essentials -police, hospitals, essential services, as well as entertainment and shopping options. Tell them about the local “places to go and things to do.” This will help them in understanding their local environment better and to settle in faster.

  1. Basics of Hindi or Regional Language

In order to survive in India, it is useful to learn or know at least a few basic words or phrases in Hindi or the local dialect of their residing area. For example, you can teach them basic Hindi words like “Haan” (Yes) and “Nahi”(No) for starters.

  1. Food

Along with the diverse culture, India boasts of a wide culinary variety. Every region has a different taste, cuisine, and recipes. It will be a good idea to introduce the expats to this wide range of delectable food choices. They can start slow and then get more adventurous with the spice and oil options as they get acclimatised.

  1. Cost of Living

It will be a good idea to help your incoming expat employees prepare a rough monthly budget depending upon their specific requirements. Inform them about things like the average rent they should be paying in their city of residence. This will help them in understanding the cost of living in India and to manage their overall finances better.

Besides these general checkpoints, it is important to update the expats about medical requirements too. Here’s a list of some essential vaccinations that the expats should get done with before moving to India:

  1. Malaria

Some places in India are rife with mosquitoes and expats are at higher risk to get infected with malaria. It is advisable to take a malaria vaccine before travelling to India.

  1. Hepatitis A & B

It is recommended to get Hepatitis A vaccine as expats have a lower immunity to the food and water in India. Consuming contaminated or poor-quality food and water can infect them with Hepatitis A. It is also advisable to take the Hepatitis B vaccine.


  1. Typhoid

Foreigners visiting India have been known to contract typhoid due to the consumption of contaminated water or food. To stay safe while savouring the delectable Indian food, it is advisable to take a typhoid vaccine before landing in India.

  1. Rabies

This is the most important vaccine if the expat that you are hiring is an animal lover. Indian cities are home to many stray cats and dogs. If they feel drawn towards these stray animals, it is always good to stay protected with the rabies vaccine.

There’s always more that expats could do to prepare for a move to India. But providing the expats with this checklist will help them ensure a good and memorable trip to India. Welcome to India!

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