Indian : A word used to refer to a person whose ‘usual country of residence’ is India or in other words one who is a legal citizen of India (let’s forget the American Indians for now. Even if one wishes not to forget that, one can always remember that the reason why American natives were called Indians was because Columbus thought he had reached India).
Indian: A synonym for immigrant? Maybe not, considering that the top five countries of origin for immigrants are in the African continent. But then, it would be more appropriate to call asylum seekers from Africa as refugees since they are fleeing from drought, hunger, poverty and persecution. Not so for Indians. For the educated, skilled and employed, India is a beautiful and quite a comfortable country to live in. Also, apparently amongst all the countries in the world, Indians have the highest Happiness Quotient (HQ). Yet hoards of Indians leave the shores of India for more exciting, foreign lands. These lands have typically been USA, UK, Canada or Australia.
Though Europe is an equally enticing and challenging continent, very few immigrants from India chose Europe as their future home. Germany in particular is the most advanced and the richest European country. It has the best social benefit programme for its citizens and immigrants. Right from the first day of arrival, a refugee is provided food, shelter and health insurance. Agreed, Indians do not migrate as refugees rather as skilled or semi-skilled assets. So why do Indians avoid this incredibly attractive country? The answer lies in the immigration requirements of Germany. One primary requirement is an adequate command of the German language. As the inimmitable legend, Amitabh Bachhan once said, I(ndians) can talk English, I(ndians) can walk English, I(ndians) can laugh English, I(ndians) can run English. But learn another foreign language? Na re baba na!
Between the 22 officially scheduled languages and the dozen unofficial ones, Indians already know bits and pieces of far too many languages. German is not an easy language to learn either. Everything has a gender. So every living or non-living entity has either a male, female or neutral gender assigned to it (him/her). If one was to replace the noun with a pronoun in the sentence, “Please pass the bag around”, it would become “Please pass her around”, since bag is a feminine entity. Similarly, “The machine is broken. Get her fixed” or “I have hidden the house key near the front door, you will find him under the doormat”. As hilarious as it may sound, learning German is not a laughing matter. So why would the Indians, educated in English bother to cram a foreign a language into their already over-taxed brains? There are far simpler options available wherein their only concerns will be unpacking and setting up base rather than spending bewildering nights delving into the depths of accusative, dative, nominative and genitive cases of German grammar.
However, Germany with the largest economy in Europe has the greatest shortage of IT staff. The German Information Technology Association estimates that twenty-five percent of IT vacancies remain unfilled. While low skilled workers will find it difficult to gain permission to work in Germany, highly skilled workers find it easier to gain permanent residency since the government is making an attempt to lure highly skilled workers into Germany. The professions most in need are natural scientists (biologists, chemists, physicists), engineers, professors and scientific personnel in high technology areas. But with German being the official working language, may God Bless those who decide to move to this green pasture for their German green card.