Friday, June 27, 2008

Day 11

I did write something wrong on my previous day's diary, and I must start with a correction. I said that most of the legislation labour government passes excludes themselves - the public sector, by implication - and cited as example how on one hand, government is legislating against age discrimination but on the other, has a clearly ageist immigration policy. The correction is that the latest Equality legislation are indeed focused on the public sector, where the gender gap and ageism is very common, and it has been indicated that these legislation will be expanded in future to cover the private sector as well. So, I was not exactly correct in saying that labour government always excludes itself from its good-intent governance.

However, my point about the immigration policy will still stand. Britain has a fairly muddled immigration system. All the people like me, who wanted to come and settle in Britain because of cultural familiarity, has suffered from inconsistent policy and very bureaucratic process. As I said, a combination of casual paperwork from my company [while I shall fault them here, it is quite common among SMEs in the UK] and uncertainties in the immigration policy ate up my one whole week's work, and created lots of trouble for my Charterd Accountant as well. Though, finally, I got all of this sorted and sent the paperwork away, I have been now told it will take 14 weeks to process this - I am completed only two weeks of that - and regardless of the fact that my profession is International Business Development, which means I can't stay home, I have to wait. I am not surprised that the Home Office takes that long to process applications. As i went through the forms, it was needlessly long, repetitive and stamped with bureaucratic inefficiency. I was submitting the form for my 18-month old son, my wife and myself, and I had to fill out three forms totalling 120-odd pages. Apart from three pages in that form, wherein I disclosed my educational qualification and income over last year, and my name and credit card number, the rest were completely irrelevant. I am sure there is a reasoning beyond common sense why each one of us had to answer separately about our record on criminality, involvement in genocide, terrorism, assistance in terrorism etc. To give an example of the muddle, it asks whether I have been involved in terrorism and if yes, when and where. The guideline says clearly that if one's involved in terrorism, he would never get the visa. What is the point in asking when and where one was involved in terrorism here?

But, anyway, returning to my day, the day ended with the news that Conservatives have won in Henley by-election, the seat that was vacated by Boris Johnson, the newly elected mayor of London, and the labour candidate has come fifth, even after the Greens and the British National Party candidate. Gordon Brown could not possibly have hoped for a worse first year, but I do think he is having a slight bounce-back, now that there was no new scandals in last one week or so.

I also noted, worryingly, a lack of work ethic in some of the work places I manage. Without going into details, I have noted that while I see that a number of Indian professionals would want to come and settle in Britain, their work practises remain far from 'professional'. I am still struggling to get a management structure in place in India, and I did not know that it would prove as difficult and I shall still be looking around for suitable members to create a management team which is dedicated, ambitious and imaginative. I do sometimes feel that we picked a wrong city to base our country operations. Hyderabad has a tight labour market, limited indigenous skilled labour and a lackadaisical work culture not very unlike Calcutta. The key difference is that Hyderabad is more modern and materialistic than Calcutta, so people want more money and has less fear of God. If I was to do it fresh today, my possible candidate cities would have been Mumbai or Chennai, which has abundant supply of skilled people and a consistent work ethic. To be honest, I would have also considered Calcutta, that is more because of my level of local knowledge and availability of God-fearing skilled people, but I would know that a business starting from Calcutta has very little chance of making it on a national scale.

On my personal level, I am supposed to do a Literature Review for my university coursework and I am deciding between whether to do this on the work of the enterprise agencies or on marketing of a country, in my case, India. I have to do this quickly, as another deadline is looming, and I have only three weekends to cover this. I am in Northern Ireland most of next week, taking Partho around and working on my company's web strategy, and will hardly have time to work on anything else. So, I am set for another round of panic, and I am trying hard to avaoid this.

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