Long visa delays leading Indian diaspora to shop from Pakistani stores in Dubai

Long visa delays leading Indian diaspora to shop from Pakistani stores in Dubai
Long visa delays leading Indian diaspora to shop from Pakistani stores in Dubai

The Indian wedding industry, estimated to be worth $50 billion, is facing losses because of delays in visas for diasporan families. Thousands of Indian diasporas from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada and many other countries travel to India to do wedding shopping.

As per reports, wedding shopping from India in 2022 has become very difficult for the diaspora due to visa delays on the part of the Indian High Commission in London, with a waiting list of over two to three months. Due to the massive delays, the shopping is getting diverted to Dubai, resulting in Pakistan-manufactured goods and materials being purchased on a large scale as it has a stronghold in the Middle-Eastern city.

Indian diaspora families always come to their home country for wedding shopping because of the quality and affordable prices. The business is shifting to the neighbouring country, Pakistan, through Dubai as the diaspora is rushing to the city to do wedding shopping.

People of Indian origin who reside in foreign countries find it much easier to travel to Dubai and find suitable clothing and accessories for their functions. But these are mostly imported from Pakistan, resulting in considerable business. More Indian wedding shopping is currently happening in Dubai instead of the Indian cities of Delhi, Bengal and Gujrat, which are huge markets for this industry. Many store owners confirmed that a higher percentage of their sales for typical marriages is because many people cannot get their Indian visas processed on time from the United Kingdom.

As a result, many Pakistan-based stores have increased their imports to meet the increasing demands. Notably, the Indian bridal industry is the most prominent wedding market in the world.

Even though online marketing is a thing, people do not take the risk before the biggest day of their lives, as nothing can be better than choosing traditional clothes by running their fingers over the gilded embroidery, twirling in front of the mirror during the trials and also crying tears of happiness while finding the final look. The in-store experiences are always more valued, which is why the Indian diaspora is shifting to Dubai to do wedding shopping. This is resulting in massive losses to the Indian industry.

Rajnish Gupta, a London resident, said they were planning to do large-scale shopping for his daughter’s wedding from India, but due to a prolonged delay in getting a visa to visit the country, their plan was diverted towards Dubai. “We had to go to Dubai for shopping as India delayed a lot and we were not in a situation to wait 3 months to do just a shopping. However, Dubai came up as an excellent market for Pakistani styles and other accessories.”

Along with Mr Gupta, there are many individuals who have expressed that they had to choose Dubai as an alternative option to do the shopping for weddings.

Businesspersons from India have also displayed dismay with the Indian government delaying visas for the diaspora and said, “The government do not care about our businesses whether they are doing good or bad. We request to the government to fast-track the visa application processing or enhance its systems to ensure the NRI (Non-Resident India) markets are secured. Otherwise, we fear that if we lose the business this year, thousands of people doing wedding shopping will permanently opt for Dubai, leaving back India’s oldest tradition. This is an alarming bell and the government should act promptly.”