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Are Indian Techies safe abroad?

By Aakash Sinha

In this era of globalization, competition is increasing in every field. In India, jobs in IT sector are multiplying day by day and the craze among the employees to go abroad is on a high note.

Nirman Jain, an employee in the reputed firm ‘IBM’ was very proud upon his first onsite posting in Jordan but his family had security concerns. On the borders of Syria and Iraq, this country is at a high risk location.  These locations are sometimes good for you as companies pay a hefty package and allowances.  IBM paid him a daily hardship allowance of about 40 Jordanian Dinar (roughly Rs.4,000). He was able to buy a house in Bangalore after spending three years in Jordan continued in South Africa.

But these packages are not given by all companies. Another employee, Rahul Bhatnagar working in a large Indian IT firm didn’t got a single penny extra after working in Iraq for 3 years. He also had a narrow escape from the country couple of times. Finally, he is back to home after resigning his job.

Rules and Regulations monitoring Allowances

IT firms like IBM, Cognizant etc. are bound to give extra allowances to employee sent to high risk locations due to US regulations. But in India, there are no rules and regulations to monitor these allowances given by IT firms. Thus, it is different for different Indian companies.

The issue is tending as the countries like London, Brussels, Paris and Sydney which was considered safe before are now prone to terrorist activities. Raghavendran Ganeshan, an employee of Infosys (an IT firm) was killed in the recent attack in Brussels. These incidents are giving rise to family concerns.

Huge Indian employees working abroad

According to Nasscom, IT services firms have deployed about 500,000 Indians overseas. Where these employees are working? There is no data available to show region wise deployment of Indian workers.

As the whole whole world is now engulfed by ‘Terrorism’, experts think that hardship allowances and insurance will cover the hiring pattern very soon.

“When companies such as IBM pay hardship allowances, it will put pressure on other IT firms to follow suit as otherwise it will increasingly become difficult for the latter to attract talent,” says Sanchit Gogia, CEO, Greyhound Research.

As mentioned earlier there are no specific rule in India regarding the extra allowances which results in the variation in different IT firms. “There are enough people willing to go to locations such as the Middle-East and Africa because of the additional allowance they receive over and above their salary,” says Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO of Headhunters India.

“It is cheaper to pay compensation after an unfortunate incident than paying risk allowance or insuring an employee,” says Lakshmikanth.

However, Nasscom Chairman BVR Mohan Reddy says that IT companies are doing a lot for employees in risky areas.

“The firms take good insurance cover on dynamic premium tariffs. The covers are much larger than are offered in India,” he says. While most of the top IT firms declined to give on-record comments for this report, Tech Mahindra said that it has put in place various measures to ensure that employees who travel abroad on work are taken care of in the event of a crisis.

Safety measures that could be taken by employees

“All associates travelling to certain countries can download a mobile app and get alerts on their mobiles about medical, clinical, and security measures and precautions to adopt. We also provide emergency response services and support,” says Rakesh Soni, Chief People Officer of Tech Mahindra.  He added that the company offers its employees comprehensive insurance.

Sudhir Chaturvedi, Chief Operating Officer of NIIT Technologies, which has employees in Brussels, says the company has protocols to deal with terror attacks. “We alert our staffers and facilitate conversations with their family members back home. Should they want to come back from the place in question, we will arrange for that,” he said. NIIT Technologies set up a war room after the Brussels attacks.

In accordance with the above steps, the employee should assess all the past conditions of the host country before migrating there. Also, they should think about their families before taking such decisions.

Aakash is pursuing B.E , Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Sir M. Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, Bangalore.

Twitter:@aakashsinha1994

 

 

 

 

 

 

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