Moving to Mumbai
Mumbai has become India’s most important business centre and a contender for the region's most cosmopolitan city.
Expats moving to Mumbai will find the city has many highlights: it is culturally and commercially vibrant, humming with possibility and the knowledge that anything can be achieved when hard work and self-belief are applied. Perhaps that’s why Mumbai still has the energy of a frontier town even though it has existed for thousands of years.
Over the past ten years, Mumbai has exploded with development and transformed from an inconsequential backwater into a major international metropolis. In the flurry of booming industries and financial giants, the city has elbowed into the international business big league and become a major expat destination.
With rapid development comes contradictions and conflicts. First among these is a chronic housing crisis that has created one of the most expensive property markets in the world. Even well-paid expats often have difficulty finding suitable accommodation in Mumbai. Expats will find traffic congestion in Mumbai to be quite intense, and while using public transport in the city is an adventure, it becomes a struggle on a day-to-day basis. Luckily, many expats find that hiring a driver is an affordable option.
India's massive wealth gap is highly apparent in Mumbai, where some of the country's richest people live in luxury apartment complexes looking out onto its poorest slums. Mumbai is a city where IT millionaires, chic hotels and boutique restaurants exist in close proximity to shanty towns, beggars and open sewage; where luxurious German sedans are gridlocked into chaotic traffic jams alongside wooden carts and impassive cows.
Expats moving to Mumbai with children will be pleased to find a large number of international schools specialising in a range of different national curricula. Expats will find that education is a priority for the local population and, as a result, expats have a range of private schools to choose from as well.
Expats who are initially put off by the city's hardships are usually won over by the ease of assimilating, the absence of a language barrier and a welcoming and gracious culture. There is also a vitality to life in Mumbai that makes each day different and stimulating and, of course, there's a palpable energy that comes from working in a city that is going places fast.