Chennai

Making expats feel at home during a lockdown

Rohini Manian, CEO, Global Adjustments   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Even at the most fragile time in world history, India’s resilience and value for relationships have stunned our expatriate customers from Make in India companies, says Rohini Manian, CEO, Global Adjustments. “They laughed at our indiscipline in matters such as queuing up and now stay to marvel at how quickly we learn,” she adds.

Ever since the lockdown came into effect, Ms. Rohini and her team have been working closely with the expat community across India. “Expats in India overall have been very respectful and responsive to the pandemic situation. They have all taken the responsibility to be socially aware, they are acting as per the government’s advice and working remotely in most of cases,” she says.

Global Adjustments has launched WhatsApp support groups in all major cities in India. A head for each group helps to resolve questions at the earliest possible time. Most requests on the group are on amenities that are open, pet facilities, rules and regulations for support staff, grocery and restaurants with home delivery options as most expats do not drive in India.

“There are many of them in need of visa extension via the FRRO – we are helping them with authentic information and support to apply as well. We are also providing broad advice such as continual payment for their support staff etc. by helping them understand the Indian work ethos and realities,” Ms.Manian adds.

The biggest challenge is most expats do not drive in India. She went on and explained, “So, for example. the CxO of a leading company had a dog that unfortunately got tick fever and became gravely ill. Getting him a police pass to save the animal turned out so important - our front line staff accompanied him to the vet, the vet was a green warrior and overall we have a truly happy German. Another incident is of a French CxO in the city had similar trouble of not having anyone to drive him around for essentials, so we had to find a neighbor to introduce to his family, so that daily food supply was not an issue, earlier on while online services were all blocked.”

Alice from Italy (name changed for anonymity) says “Through the WhatsApp groups we found others from our own country. We talk a lot of time about going back home, but right now we feel safer here in India than we could be in Italy. The only challenge as of now is getting groceries. But with the help of delivery apps we are getting it done now.”

On the business front, Ms. Manian says, the majority of their clients are following the government’s order of working from home. According to her, there is a positive sign of business as usual in sectors like IT, ITeS amongst many others with strong digital infrastructure, while the automobile and manufacturing sector have had to look at this down time differently.

Kate from UK (name changed for anonymity) says, “Post COVID-19, for economic reasons, as companies are struggling worldwide, there will likely be a reduction in expats numbers. Some may not return nor be replaced.”

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 2:38:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/making-expats-feel-at-home-during-a-lockdown/article31499231.ece

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