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Working in Bangalore
Find out how to get a job and work in Bangalore
Are you planning on working in Bangalore? Here’s one of the many reasons to consider it: India’s Silicon Valley is an attractive workplace for tech-savvy expats. The InterNations GO! Guide to working in Bangalore offers information on the local economy, job market, taxes, and healthcare for expatriates.
Employment in Bangalore
At a Glance:
A large proportion of expats in Bangalore move to the city to work in the technology industry, joining Bangalore’s many science parks and big IT giants.
Income tax in India is taxed at a maximum of 30%, and your social security contributions will depend on how long your stay in Bangalore will be and where you are from.
Traffic in Bangalore is notoriously bad, due to infrastructure failing to keep up with the city’s growth, so be prepared for a stressful commute.
Numerous IT experts are currently working in Bangalore’s technology enterprises. While corporate giants such as Google, Dell, and Amazon take up a significant share of the sector, the city is home to most of the IT companies in India, such as Wipro and Infosys. Every week, new technology start-ups join the IT cluster in town, supported by various incubators and investors.
Small and medium enterprises in particular, however, are finding it increasingly difficult to get a foot in the door. Prices for office space are heavily influenced by big employers who continue to attract highly qualified people from an international background and are willing to pay a lot. While the development of the high-tech industry has turned the city into one of India’s fastest growing metropolises, it has not been entirely beneficial for the employment prospects of locals working in Bangalore.
Pay Cuts and Power Cuts
Bangalore isn’t called the Silicon Valley of India for nothing. Several venture capital companies from the original Silicon Valley in California have a local branch with staff working in Bangalore. Dozens of global companies also have their own research and development centers in the city, e.g. Bosch, Siemens Information Systems, SAP Lab India, Intel Development Center, Accenture, IBM, Cisco Systems, Oracle, etc.
Bangalore has become a popular start-up destination for companies due to the large numbers of highly skilled people working there for comparatively low wages. In fact, the cost of running a business and hiring staff in Bangalore is significantly lower than in the US or the EU. However, companies often face huge inconveniences due to an insufficient infrastructure which has failed to keep up with the city’s explosive growth. Power cuts, for example, can cause major problems for IT companies and their staff working in Bangalore, not to mention the daily traffic jams and congestion on the way to work.
The Expatriate Job Market in Bangalore
Although the Indian IT sector has been slowing down somewhat, it seems to be stagnating on a fairly high level. The IT industry still provides most of the jobs for expats working in Bangalore. Thousands of IT specialists, quite a few of them from abroad, are employed in Electronic City, a “Silicon Park” on the southeastern outskirts of town. However, many mid-level and lower-level positions in the big IT companies are filled by highly qualified, but low-salaried locals.
Expats working in Bangalore are usually recruited for upper management. However, this stronghold, too, is challenged by returning Indians, who bring local knowledge plus experience gained abroad to the job. While some expats are relocated by their companies on foreign assignments, you’ll find that lots look for a job with a company in Bangalore themselves.
Information technology is not the only big player on the job market for expats. With a considerable percentage of India’s biotechnology companies based in Bangalore, the city has built up a strong international presence in this field. The Bangalore Biotech Park in Electronic City is one of the most well-known institutions. Other popular occupations for expats are in banking and finance.
Aviation, aerospace technology, electronic engineering, and automotive manufacturing, as well as equipment and machinery, may also be of interest to foreign employees working in Bangalore. However, despite a brief stagnation in mechanical engineering and India’s electronics industry in the course of 2012, these sectors are growing across India, with the electronics industry even expected to reach 400 billion USD by 2022.
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Taxes and Social Security in Bangalore
In general, income tax needs to be paid by all working residents of Bangalore. As of the 2018–2019 financial year, it is calculated at a rate of 0%, 5%, or 20% for incomes up to 250,000, 500,000, or 1,000,000 INR, respectively. Annual incomes of more than 1,000,000 INR are taxed at a rate of 30%. The rate of income tax in India is the same for male and female professionals.
Foreigners who don’t have fiscal residence status in Bangalore, i.e. who spend less than 180 days in India during one financial year, may be eligible for double taxation relief on their income from non-Indian sources. However, they have to keep paying income tax in their official country of residence. India has signed Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) with 88 countries around the world, though only 85 are in force, so make sure to check your country’s status.
A list of DTAAs can be found on the Income Tax Department of the Government of India website. For detailed information, though, expats are advised to consult the tax authorities of their country of residence. All these DTAAs are more or less standard double taxation treaties and follow the guidelines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Indian government also reserves the right to grant unilateral double taxation relief to individuals who, on grounds of their nationality, are not covered by a DTAA.
Social Security: Not So Secure in Practice
There are two government schemes providing social security for the Indian workforce. Unfortunately, there is a large proportion of employees of all kinds in India who are not covered under the following schemes. India’s major social security organizations are called the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) and the Employees’ State Insurance Company (ESIC). Although ESIC coverage in particular is being extended to ever more low-earning workers and employees, there are still hundreds of millions of people without any access to social security schemes or benefits.
In reality, a lot of employers are unwilling to pay social security contributions for their employees, and the government lacks the necessary means to carry out comprehensive checks and enforce the rules. Moreover, over 90% of India’s workforce, the so-called “unorganized sector”, still has no proper claim to any form of pension or financial aid whatsoever.
Social Security for Expatriates
Expats working in Bangalore are likely to be employed in the organized sector. Therefore, you will be liable to pay social security contributions, although special private social security arrangements might be in place for expats working for multinational companies.
Expats from selected countries (e.g. Belgium) can profit from the Social Security Agreements between India and their country of origin. They can continue to pay contributions to social security schemes in their home country if their work assignment in India does not exceed 60 months. These security agreements are available to view on the Emigration Services website of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.
Similar documents have been drawn up for a variety of other countries, and talks have been initiated with even more national governments. Before moving to Bangalore, you should visit the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs website to see if your country has an agreement. Alternatively, your nearest Indian embassy or consulate will have more information on social security developments.
As far as your own pension fund is concerned, we recommend that you contribute to a private pension plan during your time as an expat in Bangalore and/or keep paying voluntary contributions to the national social security scheme (if possible). Quite often the company you will be working for will advise you as to what your best options are.
Expat Info Bangalore
Private Healthcare Options Are a Safe Bet
There is no shortage of healthcare facilities in Bangalore, although standards may vary wildly, especially among public hospitals. Since India in general is becoming an increasingly popular destination for medical tourists, numerous highly specialized private clinics have opened in recent years, offering world-class treatment and care to those who can afford it.
While medical treatment in India might not seem expensive compared to Western standards, few Indian people can afford to pay for it, given the lack of comprehensive health insurance coverage among the population. In fact, the private healthcare sector in Bangalore is very much geared toward affluent locals, wealthy expats, and medical tourists. With a good health insurance package, you should have no troubles getting the treatment you require.
The only time when expats are likely to face difficulties is in an emergency situation. To dial an ambulance, call either 112, 102, or 108. In big cities, it’s common for state ambulances to take a long time to reach you, due to the amount of emergency calls. Ambulance drivers often have medical training of a lower standard than what you might be used to and might expect instructions from you as to where to go. Therefore, it’s useful to know where the nearest hospital is or where you (or the person concerned) would like to be taken in case of an emergency.
Some ambulance services, which are not affiliated with a hospital, also lack any life-saving equipment in their vehicles. It is best to ask colleagues or neighbors for hospitals, doctors, and ambulance services they would recommend, so you will be prepared should you or a family member ever need emergency assistance.
In addition to the healthcare directory linked above, the US Consulate in Chennai also provides an overview of hospitals and clinics in Bangalore, complete with office hours, specializations, and languages spoken.
Tackling the Bangalore Traffic
Hardly surprising for a city with one of the highest traffic densities in India, traveling around Bangalore is not much fun. The main means of public transportation are the bus services operated by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. However, a rapid transit system called Namma Metro is under construction and became partly operational in 2011, with further sections added in 2014 and 2015.
The price of single fares and monthly travel passes for BMTC buses often depends on the specific service or type of bus you’d like to use — buses with air conditioning, for example, will be more expensive. For more information on routes, fares, and timetables, please refer to the BMTC website. The Vayu Vajra Airport Service, also operated by BMTC, provides a 24/7 transfer with only a few stops to the new Kempegowda International Airport on various routes from strategic points all across the city, including the suburbs.
Most expats who have no company car or regular driver choose to travel by taxi. If you want to hail a taxi on the go, make sure they are a registered driver and check that there is a meter. However, since the most reliable taxis are only available on call and should be pre-booked at least two hours in advance, taxis in Bangalore don’t necessarily offer the same flexibility as elsewhere. Auto-rickshaws are another good option, but only for the more adventurous, as some drivers can be quite reckless.
When traveling from Bangalore to other destinations in India, driving is a reliable option and allows for much more freedom than public transportation. There are options, though: Indian Railways provides direct train connections between Bangalore and most major Indian cities, and the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation operates intrastate intercity coach services.
Learning to Read between the Lines
India is a complex country with a very diverse society, which makes it difficult to give general advice about working in India, let alone Bangalore in particular. There are, however, a couple of common mistakes made by expats in India. Fortunately, some pitfalls are easily avoided if you are aware of them.
Indians are very polite, so you are unlikely to receive a straight “no” in response to a request. Instead, you might hear the standard “that is possible”, which is often mistaken for an affirmative answer by unsuspecting expats. “That is possible” doesn’t necessarily mean that whatever you requested is going to happen. What it actually implies is that it should be possible, while it will require some more persuasion before it happens. You should therefore always be prepared to deal with some negotiations before coming to an agreement.
Another aspect of working life that expats sometimes find unusual is the concept of punctuality in many Indian companies. Turning up 15 minutes late to a meeting, for example, would be considered perfectly on time in a lot of offices, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself waiting up to half an hour sometimes for people to arrive or for meetings to start. In general, you might find business to be more relaxed than you are used to. That having been said, Bangalore is a hugely international city and every workplace culture will differ.
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