What you and your employees must know about Indian visa rules

Visa_Rules_In_India

The most essential information to gather and understand while planning to visit a foreign country is regarding the Visa rules applicable in that country. This is even more critical when the intention is to stay over for a longer duration to perform a job. This is the situation your expat employees encounter when you consider getting them to our great nation. Let’s take a brief look at the applicable visa regimen as a way to get your information gathering process started.

The Indian visa rules aren’t perhaps as onerous as some other countries. However, it is still advisable to know about the types of visas available, the allowed duration of stay for each category of visa, the required documentation, and the eligibility. We will look at these in this article.

Eligibility Criteria

To procure the Indian employment visa, you need to be a paid intern or employee of an Indian company or volunteering work with a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).

Here are the details of foreign nationals who are eligible to procure an Indian Employment Visa:

  1. Foreign nationals being hired as consultants by Indian companies on a contracted fixed annual remuneration.
  2. Foreign artists hired by hotels, clubs and other organizations to conduct regular performances for the duration of their stay.
  3. Foreign nationals being hired as sports coaches for state / national level teams or sports clubs.
  4. Foreign language interpreters and teachers.
  5. Foreign sportsmen contracted by Indian clubs and organizations during sports leagues.
  6. Foreign technicians or engineers who are hired for a specific project to utilize their expertise in installing or commissioning of machinery or equipment.
  7. Foreign specialist chefs hired by hotels and restaurants.
  8. Foreign nationals visiting India for a specific project which can or cannot be for a specified duration.

Conditions for getting an Employment Visa

 To get an employment visa in India, a foreign national should fulfill the following conditions:

  1. The visa applicant should be a highly skilled and qualified professional being employed by an organization on a contractual basis to hold a highly skilled position or a senior role in the particular organization.
  2. A foreign national will be granted employment visa if only there is non-availability of a qualified Indian to fill the post in question.
  3. India Employment Visa is generally not granted for mundane, ordinary and secretarial or clerical jobs.
  4. The foreign nationals must comply with the legal requirements like payment of taxes etc.
  5. Barring the categories of ethnic cooks, foreign language teachers (excluding English language) and translators, and Embassy or High Commission staff; the employee’s salary should exceed USD 25,000 per annum.
  6. The Indian company or organization sponsoring the employment visa of a foreign national does not necessarily have to be the chief employer of that person.
  7. The responsibility of the foreign national’s conduct during their stay and their departure upon the expiry of visa solely lies with the organization/company/entity hiring them.

 Duration of the Stay and Validity of Visa

The employment visa is valid for a year irrespective of the duration of the contract between the hiring organization and the foreign national. This can further be extended up to 5 years. Some key facts worth remembering.

  • The duration of the visa starts from the day of issuance of the visa and not on the day of arrival of the foreign national in India.
  • A foreign technician can get a 5-year visa with multiple entries subject to a bilateral agreement between the Government of India and the foreign government.
  • Foreign nationals being employed in the IT sector can get a visa with multiple entries for up to 3 years or the term of the contract, whichever is less.
  • Foreign nationals falling under other categories can be granted a visa with multiple entries for 2 years or for the term of the contract, whoever is less.

 Documentation Process

There’s a comprehensive visa-application process that is detailed, involved, and complex. But as at a very high-level, you need to submit the following documents to get an employment visa:

  • Proof of employment in India in form of offer letter etc. issued by the employer clearly stating the terms and conditions, job profile and scope, and salary.
  • Passport with validity up to the period for which visa is being applied for.
  • Copy of online visa application form and 2 passport-sized coloured photographs.
  • Visa support letter on the hiring company or organization’s letterhead.

Do remember that visa rules and requirements are case-specific. In this article, we have focused more on general requirements for procuring an employment visa to India. It is advisable to go through the immigration website to know about specific employment visa requirements or to connect with Lexagent. That’s what we are here for, after all!

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