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A New World of Opportunity

  • Dec 2016
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"A new world of opportunity" - This has been my company's mantra from the day we began. Keeping in line with this philosophy, we have constantly endeavoured to find new opportunities for Indians to work abroad, hoping to make a difference in the life of individuals, with each step forward.

 

When we started off in Mumbai, way back in 1990, our operations included recruiting across all industries. Soon after, we opened a branch in the UAE and continued our operations for the Middle East. Then came 1999 and it brought with it a new set of laws from the UAE government. It put several restrictions on the employment of Indians, forcing us to reinvent ourselves and look for opportunities outside of the Middle East.

 

Right after 9/11, while at my office in Sharjah, I received a call from Keith Frein from Jacksonville, Florida. Keith said he wanted to recruit nurses from India and after much persuasion, I agreed to meet with him and explore the possibilities. So I got on a plane and travelled to America - my first time ever - and met with the amazing team of PPR Healthcare. The founders, Keith and Dwight, were not only smart and suave but also caring and cultured. The small start up had become a nationwide Travel Nurse Company that always put their nurses first.

 

I was truly blessed to have met them and our partnership with PPR thus began! We successfully recruited hundreds of nurses to some of the most reputed hospitals and healthcare facilities in the USA (including the prestigious Johns Hopkins Hospital!)

 

After tasting success in the US, I then ventured to the UK and Ireland and successfully partnered with the National Health Service (NHS) and Department of Health, once again placing hundreds of nurses, however this time with the NHS Hospitals across UK.

 

Around 2002 - 03, the Sector based scheme SBS was introduced by the British Government for the first time, to deal with the shortage of Hospitality staff, giving Vira International yet another opportunity to charter into new territory, and we became one of the first companies to supply Indian Hospitality workers for Hotels and several Restaurant chains across the UK. Some of our early clients included the Hotel Chains Thistle and Hilton Hotels.

 

Once we started Recruitment for the Hospitality Industry there was no looking back. The next big opportunity was recruitment of Chefs on the work permit program and the Chef Recruitment Program became hugely popular with the Chefs in India, as not only did they get work permits but they were also entitled to British Citizenships. Our clients like Red Hot Buffet, Las Iguanas and many others were very happy with Indian Chefs and saw huge growth and expansion.

 

Having firmly established ourselves in the Hospitality Industry with an impressive portfolio of clients, it was time to go back to exploring new opportunities - This time as a specialist recruitment firm for the Hospitality Industry, probably the first from India.

 

The Hotel Show Dubai 2005, was perfect to launch our new avatar and it was met with instant success. We landed the pre-opening contract for the Fairmont Dubai, the first Fairmont Hotel in the Middle East.

 

After our partnership with Fairmont in Dubai, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to recruit for the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louis, Fairmont Banff Springs and Jasper Park in Alberta Canada. I was also invited by Fairmont to Canada and was privileged to witness the warmth of the Canadian people and experience the Fairmont hospitality which left a lasting impression on me to this day.

 

 Vira was one of the first companies in India to recruit hospitality professionals and chefs to the UK and Canada. We were one of the first to offer the J1 internship program in the USA and amongst the first companies to have placed nurses in the US, UK and Ireland.

 

After over a decade in the Hospitality Industry, and after having successfully run hundreds of recruitment campaigns for leading hotel chains such as the Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, Fairmont, Sofitel, Four Seasons etc., I started noticing the change in hiring patterns. Hotels and Restaurants were now only sourcing Kitchen and Housekeeping Staff from India. I wanted to reverse this trend! I wanted to show our esteemed clients and colleagues that India still and will always have what it takes to fill ALL Hospitality positions!

 

Being one of the most populated countries in the world, India has loads of young, educated individuals looking for careers in the Hospitality industry - This time the pursuit changed from looking for new employment opportunities to looking to discover Indians in India and bridging the gap for those Indians who could not reach out to us in Mumbai, Delhi or Goa.

 

In pursuit of the same I have visited several places including Dehradun, Gangtok, Siliguri, Darjeeling and the most recent one being Mizoram. My experiences with the people, culture, tradition and beauty of Mizoram is for another post. Stay tuned!

 

Alijan Rajan, CEO, Vira International

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