Indian Employment Visas are issued to those foreign nationals who wish to take up permanent, contractual, or consultant-based employment in India, having been hired by an Indian company.
Given below are a few frequently asked questions about Indian Employment Visas:
- What is an Indian Employment Visa?
Any foreign national that wishes to India will require a Visa of some sort to do so. If the foreign national in question wishes to enter India to seek employment, fill a paid employee’s position in an Indian company, conduct whole or part of a project on a salaried basis, to fulfil the duties of his/her profession on a consultant basis, etc., he/she must apply for an Employment Visa.
Employment Visas are granted to foreign nationals if the following criteria are met:
- Foreign nationals will not be issued Employment Visas to India for employment in a particular company if there are equally skilled or qualified Indian citizens available. If there are no Indian citizens qualified or skilled in the same area or field of work, then a foreign national can be brought in to perform the required duties of that qualification or skill-set.
- Regular job posts for which many similarly qualified Indian citizens are available cannot be filled by foreign nationals on an Employment Visa.
- Foreign nationals Employment Visa applicants (depending on the case) must be highly skilled and qualified professionals that are hired as full-time employees or consultants by a company, industry, organization, NGO, etc. functioning in India, for managerial positions, senior level positions, or positions that require specific skill (such as technical experts, etc.).
- Clerical, secretarial, and routine jobs cannot be filled by a foreign national on an Employment Visa.
- Employment Visas must be applied for (and issued through) the applicant’s country of origin or the applicant’s country of domicile, provided that the applicant has lived in the country of domicile for at least 2 consecutive years.
- The foreign national entering on an Employment Visa agrees to abide by all Indian tax payment laws, and complies with all other requirements like the civil code, etc.
The following types of foreign nationals are eligible for an Employment Visa to enter India, depending on their particular circumstances:
- Foreign Nationals who have been accepted as regular salaried employees in a company, undertaking, corporation, etc. that conducts business operations in India.
- Foreign Nationals who are invited to India through their employing company on a contract or consultant basis.
- Foreign artists who are signed on to conduct regular performances at clubs, hotels, etc.
- Foreign sportspersons and coaches who are signed on to conduct regular training sessions, or as regular coaches of national or state level teams, or even by sporting clubs registered under a recognized sports authority.
- Self-employed foreign nationals who are subject matter experts in skilled services like medicine, law, engineering, accounting, etc. who wish to travel to India to provide these services as independent consultants.
- Foreign language trainers, teachers, and interpreters.
- Foreign nationals who are specialist chefs.
- Foreign engineers, technicians, and subject matter experts who are required to travel to India to install, inspect, or commission any special equipment, machinery, or tools.
- Foreign nationals who are subject matter experts in engineering-related activities, who provide technical support and services, conduct knowledge exchanges, transfer know-how, etc. who are required to travel to India to train a local workforce, which is paid for by an Indian company.
- Specialists and senior management personnel who are required to relocate to India by their companies for specific projects, or to offer management assistance.
- Foreign nationals who are required to travel to India to execute a certain project or projects.
- Foreign national equipment specialists who are required to travel to India to conduct repairs, services, etc. on machinery or equipment as part of the service warranty/guarantee.
- Foreign national equipment specialists who are required to travel to India to conduct repairs, services, etc. on machinery or equipment to fulfil annual maintenance contracts.
Any foreign national entering India on an Employment Visa must check in and register with the concerned FRO/FRRO within a period of 14 days from their arrival in India.
In most cases, the first Employment Visa that a foreign national is granted has a validity of one year. The first extension of an Employment Visa’s validity will be done by the Ministry of Home Affairs and must be initiated by the Visa holder and his/her employing company, NGO, organization, industry, etc. Further extensions, if required, are processed by the relevant State Government or FRO/FRRO. The maximum extension possible is for a period of 5 years from the Employment Visa’s date of issue.
The application for an Employment Visa must be accompanied by a set of original or authenticated documents. The list of these required documents is as under:
- Properly filled out Employment Visa application form.
- A valid travel document and re-entry permit from the applicant’s country of origin or country of domicile (if the applicant has been residing in the country of domicile for at least 2 years).
- A valid document that proves that the applicant has secured employment, a contract, an engagement, or role in an Indian company, industry, NGO, organization, etc.
- Valid documents of educational qualifications.
- Valid documents of professional qualifications.
- Valid documents of any additional skill training, specialization, technical training, etc.
- Copy of valid passport with at least 6 months validity, to be renewed before travelling.
Executing or servicing the requirements of a project or contract in India will require a foreign national to apply for an Employment Visa and not a Business Visa.
No, any change in Visa status can only be done after either the expiry of the current Visa, or if the foreign national goes back to his/her country of origin or country of domicile and applies for a fresh Visa.
For example, if a foreign national has entered India through a Business Visa and concluded the intended business activities, and then wishes to stay on as a salaried employee (or pursue any other form of commercial activity that does not fall under the scope of a Business Visa), he or she cannot simply convert the Visa type without leaving the country. Even if there is some validity left on the Business Visa, he/she will be expected to begin the Employment Visa application process form his/her country of origin or country of domicile, as the case may be. By the same token, if a foreign national has entered India on an Employment Visa, and later decides that he/she would rather have a Business Visa, he/she will have to surrender the Employment Visa and terminate the conditions of employment. Then, he/she will have to travel back to the country of origin or country of domicile and apply for a Business Visa, provided that he/she meets the required qualifications for the same.
No, dependants of anyone holding an Employment Visa will have to apply for an ‘X Visa’ which is also called an Entry Visa.
The total duration of validity of an X Visa will be co-terminus with that of the primary Visa holder. The validity of the X Visa can be as long as the primary Employment Visa, or be for a shorter duration, as decided by the Indian Mission after considering various factors and processes.
Yes, in certain cases, an Indian company can sponsor a foreign national for an Employment Visa even if the foreign national in question is already employed by a foreign company.
For example, if an Indian company has awarded a contract, sanctioned project, etc. to a foreign company for completion, then the same Indian company can sponsor employees from the same foreign company for an Employment Visa to India.
Another important point to note at this juncture would be that the company sponsoring a foreign national’s Employment Visa to India need not necessarily be the only or official employer of the foreign national.
Apart from highly skilled persons who have secured employment in India, Employment Visas can also be granted to:
- Chefs with special talents or those specializing in certain types of cuisine who are hired on a permanent, consultant, or contract basis by an Indian hotel/restaurant
- Foreign language teachers who are being hired on a permanent, consultant, or contract basis by an Indian educational institution.
- Foreign language interpreters who are being hired on a permanent, consultant, or contract basis by an Indian concern.
- Senior management personnel and technical specialists being hired on a permanent, consultant, or contract basis by an Indian business, industry, organization, etc.
Any extended delay in communication from the officials, or any difficulty faced in the Visa application process can be detailed in an email and sent to the relevant Indian Mission or Post abroad, or directly to the Joint Secretary (CPV), Ministry of External Affairs at [email protected].
Applicants can also reach out to the Deputy Secretary (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs at [email protected].
There is some confusion that exists about the distinction between Business Visas and Employment Visas to India. These are two very different Visas issued for very different purposes.
The basic difference between both these Visas is this:
- A Business Visa is given to those foreign nationals who wish to travel to India to promote, establish, or negotiate business-related activities in India. Even people who want to establish contact for future business relations are allowed to travel on this Visa. Large manufacturing companies and engineering establishments, etc. use Business Visas to send their representatives/salesmen/executives to the country to promote and sell their goods/buy large quantities of Indian-made products.
- An Employment Visa is issued to those foreign nationals who wish to travel to India in order to be employed by a business concern or NGO functioning in India. The intention of these Visa applicants is not to establish business communication or establish a business itself in India, but to contribute their knowledge, skill, and experience in a professional capacity to an existing business, NGO, corporation, etc. or for the completion or execution of projects.