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Indian govt. tightens visa rules

by Webmaster on 10/8/2009 | Comments | Viewed 2157 time(s) | Full Page View
New Delhi: The Indian Government has tightened the employment visa rules to distinguish these from the liberal rules for the business visa. This is done to prevent companies from misusing the business visa. The new rules make it necessary for expatriate workers (including those from China) to re-enter India for completing their existing assignments only on an employment visa, according to Financial Express.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has clarified the government stand on visas to foreign nationals. The Ministry says that request for employment visas for jobs for which a large number or qualified Indians are available should not be considered. From now on, employment visas for clerical, routine and secretarial jobs will also not be granted. The Ministry has asked the Ministry of External Affairs to brief Indian missions abroad on the changed norms, so that they use suitable discretion in granting employment visas.

Many countries such as the U.S. already have restriction on the number of visa provided to foreigners. According to the H1-B visa norms, the U.S. can issue upto 85,000 H1-B petitions, and set aside 20,000 for advance degree graduates for U.S. universities.

According to the new norms, all foreign professionals living in India on business visas will have to leave the country by October 31 if they are engaged in execution of projects and contracts. Foreign professionals will have to re-enter India for completing their existing assignments only on an employment visa. Companies will have to bear the expenses of sending foreign professionals with business visas back to their home countries. The move is expected to impact the 70,000-odd expatriates, working in India in various sectors.

Analysts expect multinationals with Indian subsidiaries to restructure their operations. "Companies will have to review and restructure their assignment programs in order to comply with visa requirements," said Kuldeep Kumar, Executive Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers. While some experts say that Indian Government should be careful since it is in India's interest to send more Indians abroad. Also, India should keep in mind the World Trade Organization norms. "India needs to tread carefully on such issues given that Mode 4 trade liberalisation (under the Doha Round of WTO talks) is high on India's agenda," said Biswajit Dhar, Director General, Research and Information System on Developing Countries.