chapter  7
14 Pages

The abstract concept of an ‘Indian community’

Perceptions of high-skilled migrants and international students from India in Germany
WithKerstin Schmidt

Migration from India to Germany dates back to the post–WWII period, when predominantly Indian students arrived at West German universities. In subsequent years, labour migrants, asylum seekers and family migrants from India came to Germany. More recently, highly skilled migrants were actively recruited in the context of entry schemes at the national (German Green Card in 2000) and the European (EU Blue Card in 2012) levels. In addition, the increasing internationalisation of education also led to a rise in the volume of international student mobility from India to Germany. Against this background of a growing number and diversity of people of Indian origin living in Germany, the chapter addresses the question how settled Indian migrants and newcomers socially interact and rely on each other’s support. The analysis is based on qualitative interviews conducted with Indian migrants and key informants in Germany. As the interviews indicate, the lack of a strong network of co-nationals is an important reason for many of the recently arrived Indian migrants to consider moving on to another country where a larger Indian community exists, such as the UK or the United States. On the other hand, the diversity of Indian migrants in Germany in terms of their region of origin, religion, social class and migratory background makes it difficult to speak of one generalised Indian community.