India Update - Visa & Immigration
Indian Government removes 1% cap on employment visas and introduces Project Visas for infrastructure projects
The ministry of Home Affairs ("MHA"), Government of India had in August 2010 clarified via FAQ's that the number of employment visas that may be granted to foreign nationals employed in sectors other than the IT Software and IT enabled services sector (IT Sector) would be subject to the 1% limits prescribed by the Ministry of Labor and Employment. The MHA has now issued further clarifications in the form of a revised FAQ which suggests that the limit on the number of employment visas that may be granted to foreign nationals employed in any industry sector has also been removed.
Following are the key clarifications as per the revised FAQ's released by the Ministry of Home Affairs
- The number of employment visas that may be granted to the foreign nationals employed in any industry sector will not be subject to any limit.
- The foreign national being sponsored for an Employment Visa in any industry sector should be paid a minimum salary of US$ 25,000 per annum. However, this condition of annual salary limit will not be applicable to (a) Ethic cooks, (b) Language teachers (other than English language teachers) / translators and (c) Staff working for the concerned Embassy/High Commission in India. The application for Employment Visa may be rejected by the Indian Mission/Post concerned in case the minimum salary level of US$ 25,000 is not met. There will be no need to refer such cases for consideration of the Ministry of Labor & Employment for clearance.
The Indian government is also planning to introduce the project visas which will be issued for the purpose of a specific project in the infrastructure sector. The project visas will be issued for the purpose and duration of the specific project for which the application has been submitted. The visa will be non-transferrable. In cases whereby the foreign national has to work on other projects, he/she will need to leave the country and apply for a new visa. The project visa will be subject to the 1% limit i.e. number of foreign nationals working on a particular project cannot exceed 1% of the total persons employed on that project.
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