Updated 04 Mar, 2017

Donald Trump’s election as the President of the United States last year has led to a significant, and perhaps unforeseen, shift in the marriage market in India.

Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, his dramatic executive order on immigration in January (which was later stayed by a federal court) and a proposal to squeeze H1B work visa programmes that are used extensively by Indians has meant that young Indian men studying and working in the US are no longer in demand in marriage bureaus in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

US-based Indian men have been one of the most sought after grooms in the country for decades. Although no data is available to ascertain the extent of the decline in the demand for such grooms yet, the attack on two Indian engineers in Kansas last week, in which one was killed, is likely to accelerate the trend.

Telugus form a large number of Indians migrating to the US annually. Several of them go to the US as students. Data released by the US Embassy in India shows that its Hyderabad consulate issues the highest number of student visas in the country, and the fifth highest in the world.

“Trump’s [immigration clamp down] decision has not only affected the job security of Indian techies working in the US, it has also affected the marriage of NRI [Non-Resident Indian] grooms,” said Dayakar*, the managing director of a marriage bureau in software-technology hub Hyderabad.

“At present, parents of girls prefer grooms from software companies based in India over NRIs, which used to be the other way round till just a few months back.”

Dayakar added that parents who were looking for Non-Resident Indian grooms for their daughters were waiting to see which direction Trump’s immigration policies for Indians would take before they committed to a match. “Until then they have kept NRI matches on hold,” he said.

Parents looking elsewhere

Parents looking for grooms for their daughters admitted to the shift.

“I used to search for NRI matches [in the US], but I rejected 10 such matches after Trump’s rule,” said Hyderabad-based Subramanyam Sharma, who has a 25-year-old daughter. He added that he has also advised his extended family not to look for Indian grooms in America for their daughters as long as Trump was President.

Similarly, like many other Indian parents, Ravi Reddy, 55, has been looking at eligible Indian men working in the US for his daughter, an information technology engineer. Now he says he’s dropped the US from his list because of Trump. “I would prefer to give my daughter to grooms from any other place like Singapore, Australia – anywhere other than the US,” said Reddy, who has been groom-hunting since 2015.

Ditto with Purnachandra Rao, from Hyderabad, who has a 22-year-old daughter. The lure of the Non-Resident Indian groom in the US is over, he said. “NRIs in USA don’t have job security now,” said Rao.

“After marriage they won’t be able to take my daughter along with them because of the rules laid down by Trump. So what is the point in getting married to a groom working there?”

Neelima*, who manages a prominent marriage bureau in Hyderabad, said the Trump factor could delay marriages that were already delayed by Indian standards in the case of Non-Resident Indians. “Normally NRIs marry very late,” she said. “On average, the minimum age of the NRI who is ready for marriage will be around 30 years. It takes another one or two years by the time they get married. Because of this effect [Trump’s anti-immigrant policies] it will get even more delayed.”

Wait and watch?

In the US, eligible young Indian men are putting on a brave face.

Chalapathi Rao, 30, who has been employed with the US government’s Health Department for the past five years, has been searching for a “well-educated bride” for the past six months. Although there was initial interest, the responses have dwindled.

However, Rao said that he is not worried. “I have a Greencard and work permit and I am employed with the US government,” he said. “So there is no problem for me with regard to working in the US. My job is secure and there is no need to worry.”


HEMANT KULKARNI Mar 04, 2017 03:34pm
this is just for saying... nobody wants to let go probables from USA..... for the sake of saying, people are reacting like this
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KT Mar 04, 2017 04:29pm
USA economy will soon be in trouble due to huge debts. USA has purchased huge amount of Gold from world around and has highest of Gold reserves with Gold prices crumbling down their money flow is stagnant with increasing debt. Big millionaires are transferring their wealth out of USA along industries which is causing economic downfall. Trump can secure jobs by squeezing job outsourcing lobby but still variable tax code is causing differences. Hence it is better to shift to countries like Canada and Australia where economy is stable and growing. Trump has huge challenge to solve economical puzzle of USA.
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Menon Mar 04, 2017 05:18pm
Andhra and Telangana do not represent all of India. Andhra and Telangana has a disproportionate number of H1 Visa holders in recent years and probably is the most backward state in Southern India in education and social progress. Still very much steeped in old moronic casteism.
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Saif zulfiqar Mar 04, 2017 05:31pm
@KT, You have more knowlege than US government . May be Trump will give you job as advisor and also you won't need H 1B.
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Ajay Mar 04, 2017 05:52pm
No telengana......only Gujarat and Gujjus can survive in USA.
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K khan Mar 04, 2017 06:10pm
It's a shame how materialistic the society has become basing such important life long decisions on such a temporary event which will have little or no bearing on their life. Sooner or later all these things will calm down and ppl will take it as a norm or will get used to it.
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Amra Mar 04, 2017 06:24pm
@KT You live in la la lane? So much information about United States!
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Jaydeep Mar 04, 2017 06:45pm
@Saif zulfiqar Ur right seems he knows more and that was funny .
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gogo Mar 04, 2017 06:52pm
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nownow Mar 04, 2017 07:17pm
Valid concern. Pakistani parents have also started to show similar concerns, and for right reasons.
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UDAY KULKARNI Mar 04, 2017 07:24pm
good article which will stop people from running blindly towards grooms educated in LaLa land.
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Ll Mar 04, 2017 07:53pm
Most Indian Americans voted for trump. In fact Nikki Haley is a part of trump's cabnit. Indians should not be worried about anything.
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PRADEEP Mar 04, 2017 07:56pm
@HEMANT KULKARNI , its not just for saying.. India is much better place to work and settle as compared to USA. I have been to US, UK and other European countries. many Indian techies like me are never intrsted in settling there. Racism has always been there for asians though they do not show it. Live in your own country a respectful life even though salary will be less compared to these developed nation but still you will be living near you near and dear ones, can enjoy all events, can share joy, shorrow .
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Thoroughthinker Mar 04, 2017 08:51pm
At least some sanity resulted somewhere from Trump's insanity.
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indiandude Mar 05, 2017 07:04am
There is a big difference. South Indian parents are reluctant to have their son/daughter married for prospect of going to USA. For pakistanis, its the USA who doesn't want pakistani.
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hary Mar 05, 2017 09:12am
@Menon are u crazy and in which world r u living.
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Dv 1936 Mar 05, 2017 09:16am
Hindus and Muslims are not different for Americans.
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Shah Mar 05, 2017 11:09am
Now Indians see the crunch for voting for Trump.... jobs, marriage everything in line...
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Padma Mar 05, 2017 04:50pm
@Menon- You have a misconception. Better get your facts right.
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danny Mar 06, 2017 10:38am
@PRADEEP so true when ever you live out of your country, you have to compromise a lot. nothing is better than own land. even you get money and better way to live still there is always be uncertainty. your children and family will not be the same what you expecting from them to be. wish our countries are not corrupted and leaders are honest like UK,US and CANADA. always political problem, strike,terrorism, dishonesty, goons, unruly people and bribery every where. we all like peace but does not give others. please wake up INDIAN and PAKISTANI let's build our country do not let our children humiliate in foreign land. do not fight for piece of land and religion to take others advantage. for the better future for our next generation.
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Tech talk Mar 06, 2017 11:33pm
@Menon its about US and white collar jobs,
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an observer Mar 08, 2017 01:39pm
@PRADEEP Get real. No discrimination in India, a society which practices Caste system.
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