The Ibis Effect: Reversal of Healthy Migrant Effects in Indian Diaspora

Summary of the Paper

The purpose of this paper is to write about the excessive stress related diseases that are observed in the Indian diaspora settled in many different parts of the world. We shall also examine the health effects reported in a survey of Indian professionals who work in call centres throughout India as these indicate a form of internal migration.

We hypothesise that a persistent pattern of unrealised promise, both in internal migration from villages or small towns to larger cities, and within larger cities from one set of circumstances to another as well as unrealised dreams and unfulfileed promises may underlie the atypical health effects that seem to reverse the ”healthy migrant effect” among Indian diaspora that settle in different parts of the world, specifically reviewing evidence from New Zealand and evidence from a cross sectional survey in Bangalore.

We hypothesise that there are similarities between the pattern of migration abroad in specific countries and job patterns for middle to lower-middle class non-technically educated Indians (excluding Engineeers and doctors, and other highly technical well placed jobs), and the transmigration of Indian labourers in the nineteenth centuries as described in the trilogy ”Sea of Poppies”. Drawing on the story of the migration detailed in the Sea of Poppies and current migration patterns, we lead to the hypothesis of the consistent pattern of reversal of healthy migrant effect seen in Indian settlers in developed countries.


Towards the end of the 20th century, the western world was preparing itself for the possible risk of computation disaster and crisis in database management because of the way dates were handled at the time. This crisis was termed as the YZK database threat (Y2K bug), to overcome and address this issue of computing, it required input from programmers across the world in a cost efficient manner. At that time, it opened the doors for India as an important back-office destination of the world, where hundreds of expert computer programmers and other information technology professionals were employed by the global corporations to address this threat. Since then, India’s information technology enabled services (ITES) and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries have never looked back, and it continues to grow. According to a NASSCOM-McKinsey study conducted in 2007, the Indian ITES/BPO industry grew 7 times the annual GDP growth. In 2009, the industry contributed nearly 2.5 % to the GDP (need to add a citation).


Pattern of Indian Migration

The Sea of Poppies

In the novel, Sea of Poppies, Amitabh Ghosh narrates the tale of a journey of a group of peasants and diverse group of people in the British colonial times in India to Mauritius (Ghosh 2008)


Healthy Migrant Effect

Healthy migrant effect refers to a phenonmenon where the immigrants are healthier than the natives of their adopted countries. However, for Indian migrants in foreign countries