Sept. 30 – When applying for a long-term visa in India, there are a number of procedures and legal frameworks that must be understood. In this article, we discuss the documents necessary for a foreigner to work in India.
India provides two kinds of work-related visas: a business visa, also called a B visa, and an employment visa, also called an E visa. A multiple entry business visa can be granted for a period of up to five years, with the maximum allowable stay period per visit to be determined by the issuing Indian mission.
To acquire a business visa in India, the foreign applicant must have the following:
- A valid travel document and re-entry permit
- Documentation detailing the individual’s financial standing
- The foreign national shall comply with all other requirements such as the payment of tax liabilities
- The business visa must be issued from the country of origin or from the country of domicile
- Documentation outlining the intended business visit to India
Foreign applicants wanting to apply for an employment visa are subject to the following conditions:
- The applicant is a highly skilled and qualified professional, who is being engaged by a company in India on a contract or employment basis
- Employment visas shall not be granted for jobs in which qualified Indians are available
- The foreign national seeks to visit India for employment in an entity registered in India, or for employment in a foreign company engaged in a project in the country
- The foreign national must comply with all legal requirements such as the payment of tax liabilities
The employment visa for foreign nationals taking up employment in sectors other than IT will be further subject to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Labor and Employment. As per these guidelines, only highly-skilled professionals can be granted employment visas by the Indian missions to the extent that they represent 1 percent of the company’s total workforce, subject to a maximum of 20. If the “1 percent” rule works out to be less than five individuals, the company could be permitted to bring five such persons and there will be no specific minimum salary limit for employment visas in such cases.
Indian companies sponsoring foreign personnel for employment will have to furnish a certificate with the details of all foreign nationals who are proposed to be engaged in the company or project and the percentage of foreign expatriates compared to the company’s total number of employees.
As per the immigration laws of India, every foreigner must register within 14 days of arrival at the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) if the intended duration of stay in India is to exceed six months (180 days).
The employee visa registration process starts with the filing of an online registration application. After filing the application, the FRRO provides a date of appointment. On the scheduled date, the applicant has to be present at the FRRO and requires immediate enrollment at reception. Upon satisfaction of the scrutinizing officer, the registration certificate is issued by the officer. And finally this certificate is signed by the officer in charge at the FRRO.
The necessary documents which are required for registration of an employment visa are:
- A completed online form
- Four passport size photos of the applicant
- A copy of photo page
- A visa page within passport
- Employment contract specifically stating the monthly salary
- A copy of notarized lease deed/agreement or a C-Form from the hotel of residence
- A letter of authorization and undertaking in prescribed format by the employer of the applicant
Once these processes are completed, a foreigner becomes legally eligible to work and reside in India for the allowed period. These permits are then renewable prior to expiration.
Portions of this article came from the September/October 2013 issue of Asia Briefing Magazine titled, “Work Visa and Permit Procedures Across Asia,” which is currently available as a complimentary PDF download on the Asia Briefing Bookstore until the end of October. In this edition of Asia Briefing Magazine, we outline the specific documents required for foreign nationals working in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as highlight the relevant application processes in each of these countries.
Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam as well as liaison offices in Italy and the United States.
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