The Ministry of Home Affairs has released a new document on its web site clarifying work visa issues for foreigners.
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 up to a period of five years with the maximum allowable stay period per visit to be determined by the issuing Indian mission.
U. S. nationals are allowed multiple entry business visas valid for 10 years with a maximum allowable stay period of six months per visit.
To get a business visa, the foreign applicant must have the following:
* A valid travel document and re-entry permit
* The foreign national should be a person of assured financial standing and must submit proof of this and also provide documentation supporting the intended business visit to India
* The foreign national should not be visiting India for the business of money lending, for running a petty business or petty trade, or for full-time employment
* The foreign national shall comply with all other requirements like payment of tax liabilities
* The business visa must be issued from the country of origin or from the country of domicile provided the foreigner has been residing in the country for more than two years; if the period of permanent residence of the applicant in the particular country is less than two years, the Indian mission concerned will issue the business visa only after a personal interview, review of documentation and prior clearance from the mission where the applicant has permanent residence - this will apply on a case-to-case basis
* Document pertaining to proposed business activity such as registration of the company under the Companies Act, proof of registration of the firm with the State Industries Department or the Export Promotion Council concerned or any recognized promotional body in the relevant field of industry or trade will be used to determine the category of visa applicable to the foreign applicant
* Business visas are subject to instructions issued by the Indian government on the basis of reciprocity with other foreign countries
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 or appointed by a company or organization undertaking in India on contract or employment basis
* Employment visa shall not be granted for jobs for which qualified Indians are available
* The foreign national seeks to visit India for employment in a company or organization registered in India or for employment in a foreign company or organization engaged in a project in the country
* Granting employment visas to skilled workers in the IT software and IT enabled services sector will be subject to the condition that the foreign personnel sponsored for the employment visa draws a salary in excess of US$25,000 per annum
* The employment visa for foreign nationals taking up employment in sectors other than IT software and IT enabled services 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 of 1 percent of the total persons employed in the company or project subject to a maximum of 20; if the 1 percent of the total number of persons working in the company or project works out to be less than five, 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
* The Indian company sponsoring the 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
* The foreign national must comply with all legal requirements like payment of tax liabilities
* The employment visa must be issued from the country of origin or from the country of domicile of the foreigner provided the period of permanent residence of the applicant in that particular country is more than two years
* Documents pertaining to the proposed employment, like the registration of the company under the Companies Act, proof of registration of the firm in the State Industries Department or the Export Promotion Council concerned, or any recognized promotional body in the field of industry and trade will determine the visa category issued to the foreign applicant
* The name of the sponsoring employer shall be clearly stipulated in the visa sticker