Guide to Moving Your Job Abroad: Mumbai

Guide to Moving Your Job Abroad: Mumbai

Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is the wealthiest and most populous city in India with a population of 21 million people. The city is the home to India’s Hindi (Bollywood) and Marathi film and television industry. Mumbai offers a high standard of living to many and has a very cosmopolitan vibe. It is known as a very friendly city and is safer than most other international cities.

Employment, economy & business culture

An employment visa is granted to a foreign working professional who is highly skilled, performing a role where an Indian national is not available, and has a salary over $25,000 USD. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Employment visas are usually awarded for between 2 – 5 years with the possibility of reapplication.

Mumbai is the entertainment, fashion and commercial centre of India. Home to a number of Indian financial institutions such as Bombay Stock Exchange, Reserve Bank of India and National Stock Exchange, it is one of the worlds top 10 centres of commerce in terms of global financial flow.

Mumbai, and India in general, has a very strong business culture. Business etiquette is very important and there are a number of things to remember when relocating to Mumbai.

On the whole Indian’s deal favorably with people that they know and trust, but business deals can take an extended period of time and often deals are made not just on statistics but on intuition too.

Punctuality in Mumbai is important and it is typical to arrange a meeting a month in advance, with a confirmation nearer the time. Family takes top priority over business, so meetings may be rescheduled last minute due to personal matters.


According to economic experts, India is poised for growth in 2014. Find out more about the current economy and job market in India by reading ‘Career Hotspots: 2014 – India‘.


Expat lifestyle & cost of living

Mumbai is an incredibly diverse city and a melting pot for various cultural traditions, festivals, and cuisines from across India and the world, and a vibrant, if a little chaotic, cosmopolitan destination. The city is a shopping haven boasting everything from street side trinkets to designer labels and there is also an excellent choice of restaurants, bars and clubs for expats to choose from.

Many expats find it difficult, at least to begin with, to integrate into the local community, with many finding their spare time spent with family or other expats. As the entertainment hub of India, Mumbai has much to offer expats looking to venture out of the house on weekends.

The cost of living in Mumbai is varied. Whilst many of your day-to-day items are relatively cheap, housing is very expensive in affluent areas and gated communities – prices can be more than London and New York. Mumbai is ranked in the top 5 most expensive cities in the world to buy or rent a house.

Below is a list of goods, services and accommodation along with their prices (in $ USD) according to the Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2012.

Prices of goods / services ($ USD):
Bread, White Sliced $0.86-$2.59
1 ltr Milk, Pasteurised, Whole $0.87-$0.98
Cigarettes (20 pack) $2.08
Fitness Club annual fee (1 adult) $582.07-$4,331.84
Tennis Court rent (1 hr, weekend) $8.65-$9.53

Prices of Accommodation (Monthly Rent): Good-Excellent ($ USD)
2 Bedroom, Unfurnished Apartment $4,679.05-$8,663.32
2 Bedroom, Furnished Apartment $5,369.37-$11,259.82
4 Bedroom, Unfurnished House $6,930.36-$12,474.04


India is set for another economic growth in 2014. Find out more about the current economy and job market in India by reading ‘Career Hotspots: 2014 – India‘.


Health & education

There are a number of private hospitals in the city that offer a very good standard of care. However, many of the state run hospitals are overcrowded and understaffed and many expatriates leave the country for operations or large medical procedures.

The main dangers to health are cholera, malaria, typhoid, polio and hepatitis, and it is essential to be inoculated against these diseases. Tap water is safe to drink once boiled and filtered and the sewage systems are normally functional, however the monsoon season can sometimes cause problems, and air pollution is an increasing problem in the city due to the rapid industrialisation of the city and growth in traffic.

There are a number of good international schools in Mumbai, i.e. American, German, French and Japanese. There is also a good choice of reputable English-language private schools, and a number of professional colleges and management institutes.

Public services & transport

Mumbai has one of the best electricity supplies in India, however there are occasional issues with it. Fluctuations in the voltage are common and the occasional power cuts occur. Many affluent areas have their own water supplies, however areas that don’t are sometimes limited to only a few hours of running water a day.

Mumbai also has a fairly good telephone and postal service, however important items should be sent through registered post or by courier.

Mumbai has an electric railway system, buses and taxis, however the congestion on buses and trains can reach dangerous levels during the rush hour and therefore many who can afford to use alternative means of transport do.

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is situated at the opposite end of the city from the commercial centre, and the journey time is usually 60 to 75 minutes (up to 150 minutes if the traffic is bad). There is a good choice of direct flights to most parts of the world.


India is quickly becoming a popular destination for expatriates looking for career opportunities and a good quality of life. Find out more about India by reading ‘Career Hotspots: 2014 – India‘.



Mumbai is a popular destination for many expats as it has so much to offer. However the cost of living and culture difference can have an impact and therefore it is important to ensure you do you research on the city before you move. Understanding where is best for you to live, your travel arrangements, schooling for your children and what you can do in your spare time are all important factors to take into consideration when planning your move over. It would also be a good idea to deal with a relocation company who can take care of the entire relocation and provide you with up-to-date information on the best areas to live, the best schools and so on.


Have you thought about moving your career, life and family to India? With a growing economy and good quality of life, India is a popular destination for expats. Find out more by reading our article, ‘Career Hotspots: 2014 – India‘.


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