Monday, January 24, 2011

A Matter of Trust ...

Please click on the title of this post to view an article from Open Magazine on foreigners working in India only being able to get work visas renewed if they earn over $25,000 a year with some exceptions.
I wondered for a few minutes as to what the reasons for such a rule might be and can only assume that it is to keep out illegal migrants and the now significant number of persons ostensibly gainfully employed by entities in India but who are engaged in non-violent criminal activity (drugs and prostitution for example) and who declare negligible income for tax purposes.
The paradox here is that it is these people who are most likely to find ways to stay in India illegally - we all know the unfortunate truth is that there are several employers and landlords who will make and receive payments in India's worryingly widespread "unofficial" payment system. I have actually met an expatriate - then a Board member of a reasonably prominent Indian company who was at the time an Indian resident & talked about the house he was renting, among other things. I heard subsequently from someone who would have known that this gentleman did not have a valid work visa and was receiving salary and making payments in cash!
This unfortunate rule will however, have the effect of keeping out, among others:
1) Several young persons working with NGOs and aid organisations, several of which I know for a fact do a wonderful job of helping improve the lot of several of the more unfortunate Indians;
2) Genuine refugees from Burma and Tibet for example; and
3) Over time, I expect Indian companies will want the option of hiring educated young professionals and executives from Bangla Desh and Sri Lanka for example and young professionals from several other countries as well will want to live and work here.
Bottom line - laws like this are going to be ineffective and even counter productive if we can't improve our ethical standards to the point where we can actually trust our own people - before making judgements on others.
Also, my apologies for recent blogging silence. No excuses but my best wishes for 2011!!

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