Transferring Skills Upon Return: Matching Aspirations in the Host Countries with the Reality Back in India
This chapter discusses the factors that influence the development aspirations of skilled Indians living in Europe and of those who have returned to India. While India is seen as a country that benefits from the positive effects of skilled migration, we have yet to develop a comprehensive understanding of the individual motivations that cause skilled Indians to apply their foreign-earned knowledge and skills to the development of the home country. There is also a shortage of evidence about whether these motivations actually materialise after return. Our analysis is an effort to uncover the factors that encourage motivated skilled returnees and diaspora members to effectively share their experience and knowledge for the broad-based development of India. Using a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the perceptions and expectations of skilled Indians, we identify the individual and home country factors that influence both their development aspirations and the changes to their social position after they return to India. While skilled Indians in Europe link their development aspirations to their return plans and believe that Indian society can benefit from their accrued expertise, they face several obstacles during the process of transferring knowledge to the local context. We observe that the desire to contribute to development is associated with disadvantageous identities and that socially underprivileged people register the greatest positive effects in terms of social position and influential role in society as a result of their foreign exposure. The findings point to important policy implications at an organisational and a country level i.e. for India and the European countries. At an organisational level, we suggest changes to the local work culture and structures to allow the skills and experience of the returnees to be recognised and harnessed effectively. At a country level, our analysis shows the need of policies and environments that facilitate the transfer of knowledge by returnees so that it can be used to promote balanced development in India.
KeywordsHost Country Home Country Social Position Destination Country Return Migration
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