Indian students in US keen to return home: Survey


Only eight per cent of Indians in postgraduate education in the United States "strongly prefer" to stay in the country after finishing their studies, a survey said on Tuesday.

Researchers at Rutgers University, Pennsylvania State University and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences studied the intentions of 1,000 students who are doing or have completed masters, Ph.Ds or post-doctorate qualifications.

A majority, or 53 per cent, of them planned to return home from the United States after a few years of work, while a fifth of the 1,000 respondents (21 per cent) said they were either in India already or were actively looking to return.

Sixteen per cent said they would take the best job regardless of location, while "only 8.0 per cent strongly prefer to remain in the US," the study concluded. Another 2.0 percent were classed as "other".

The findings show that India is luring back an increasing amount of overseas talent to its own colleges, university faculties and companies, reflecting the shift in global economic power from the West to Asia.

Economists are beginning to speculate about a "reverse brain-drain," the inversion of the long-standing trend that has seen talented individuals from developing countries study and then work in the West.

"We expected that more students would lean heavily toward remaining in the US," David Finegold, dean of the Rutgers' School of Management and Labor Relations and one of the study's authors, said in a statement.

India's booming economy, better chances to secure a good job, the promise of an affluent lifestyle and being closer to family were the factors fuelling the movement home, the survey said.

The main "hurdles" dissuading the highly qualified respondents from returning to India were fears about red tape and corruption, it said. 

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