For modelling, music, Bollywood, Ukrainian youth head for India

By Surender Bhutani, IANS
Monday, November 15, 2010

KIEV - Julia Shykova, a young Ukrainian woman who has already been to Mumbai as a model, has got a contract from a Delhi-based company this time. She will be in the Indian capital for three months and get $2,300 per month plus lodging.

She is among hundreds of Ukrainian youth who stand in long queues in front of the Indian embassy every week to try their luck in getting a prized visa for India, which offers avenues of earning even as the central European country stares at unemployment.

Apart from tourism purposes, many youths have short-term contracts from Indian companies for music, dance and modelling assignments. Some have documents to work as extras in Bollywood.

For instance, Iryna Marlinska, a 23-year-old musician who plays the violin, will travel to Mumbai with her collegue Anna Gannasceva and work for Glowshow Global company. They are to be given $1,000 each per month.

Ukraine, which has over 45 million people, became an independent country after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. It has seen many political and economic upheavals, including the Orange Revolution in 2005. Its young population is facing soaring unemployment. People here get very poor salaries and hence try to find jobs outside.

Since the doors of the European Union are closed for Ukrainians for legal work, they have little choice but to try their luck outside, mostly in Asia and Arab countries. Unfortunately, youth from Ukraine have a high presence in the prostitution business in the world these days.

“With their backs against the wall, these young people have no choice but to work abroad for meagre sums. Many a time they become victims of crooks. Either they are not given proper money or forced to become sex slaves,” Kuldip Kumar, an Indian businessman who has been living in Ukraine since 1994 and runs two prestigious Indian restaurants in the Ukrainian capital, told a visiting IANS correspondent.

To cater to a booming demand, Ukrainian airlines has resumed its flight to Delhi after a gap of one year. Chartered flights to Goa are an added attraction.

However, not many Indian tourists get to come here.

“The most annoying thing is that it is a one-way street as the Ukrainian embassy is not allowed to issue tourist visas to Indians. The result is they are losing a good number of genuine tourists who would have loved to come to this beautiful country for sightseeing,” Jyoti S. Pande, the Indian ambassador to Ukraine, told IANS.

“The time has come for Ukrainian authorities to change their mindset towards India. The India of 2010 is a strong economic power and it is no longer the India of 1990. Now millions of Indians are going as tourists to different parts of the globe and many are no longer interested to work as illegal migrants as they are satisfied in their motherland,” added Ravi Rakheja, a successful Indian businessman who has been based in Ukraine since 1980.

(Surender Bhutani can be reached at

Filed under: Bollywood, Fashion, Lifestyle, World

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