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


The purpose of this paper is to develop an interdisciplinary perspective of studying the phenomonemon of illnesses experienced by people of Indian origin in a foreign country or under the circumstances when they are exposed to a different culturual milieu other than their own. of their adoption and compare and contrast the likelihood of illnesses experienced in their own country when they are faced under alienated working conditions.

This project undertakes the experiences of Workforce in the emerging Buisness Process Oursourcing (BPO) and Information Technology Enabled Services(ITES) working in customer care services for globally outsourced global entities. The four Indian States (Karnataka/ Delhi/ Maharastra/Andhra)case studies and survey give a certain insight into their ’health impact’ due to the changes in their life and working patterns apart from many other parameters.

Global organizations have always preferred outsourcing Call Center Services in India, when compared to outsourcing to China, Phillipines, Malaysia and other Asian countries, because of a variety of advantages that other countries do not offer.India has been able to effectively meet the growing international demand for Call Center Outsourcing Services(CCOS)

Data Analysis

The data analysis for this study consisted of content analysis of a novel, secondary data analysis of a cross sectional survey of health data obtained from a publication from the Auckland region of New Zealand, and primary data analysis of a cross sectional survey of respondents in Bangalore, India among call centre workers. The three pieces of information were linked together to generate the hypothesis that life and migration related stresses might be responsible for the pattern of illnesses and health states observed among Indian migrants.

Steps of the content analysis of the Ibis Trilogy

A content analysis and narrative textual review of the book, The Sea of Poppies and the River of Smoke was conducted by the authors and relevant themes were extracted. These themes were related to the lived experiences of the main characters of the novel to indicate the state of migration and the themes that predicated the migrant labour from India to Mauritius during the colonial period. This was done to portray a vignette of migration and movement of Indian diaspora across the time periods to other parts of the world and the situations that might have compelled them to leave their homeland. These themes were then examined in the light of the second content analyses conducted from the narratives of the survey that was conducted. The steps of the survey are narrated in the following section.

Review of the Literature on data on Indian diaspora in New Zealand

Data from the health survey conducted in the Auckland Region of New Zealand was further used to identify the patterns of disease conditions and health states reported by the members of he Indian diaspora and data from the documents were closely analysed to abstract patterns of illnesses expressed.

Survey Data An