Indian Employment Visas are granted to foreign nationals who are employees or paid interns of an Indian company. Employment Visas are also granted to those foreign nationals travelling to India to work with a registered Non-Government Organization (NGO) – in which case there will be an endorsement on their visa stating “To Work with NGO – (name of the NGO and place).
Dependants and spouses of Employment Visa holders who wish to accompany the latter on their journey to India may apply for an Entry Visa. The validity duration of this Entry Visa will be for as long as the duration of validity on the Employment Visa.
Eligibility For Employment Visa
Given below are details of the types of persons that are eligible to enter India with an Employment Visa:
- 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.
Conditions Under Which Employment Visa Is Granted
The approval of an Employment Visa is subject to the following conditions:
- There should be no qualified Indian citizen available who is capable of performing the duties required of the Employment Visa holder.
- The Employment Visa applicant must be a highly skilled and qualified professional, employed by a profit-generating entity in India, on a regular employment or contract basis.
- The applicant’s qualifications must be of the type that cannot be easily or readily replaced by an Indian citizen – like a technical expert, senior executive, managerial genius, etc.
- Regular, secretarial, clerical, and other routine roles cannot be filled with foreign labour, and an Employment Visa will not be approved for the same.
- The employer that’s hiring the foreign national must be a registered Indian company, or a foreign company that’s currently in the process of executing a project within India.
- The salary of the employee requiring the Employment Visa must be over $25,000 per annum, unless the employee is a foreign chef, language teacher or interpreter, staffer at the concerned High Commission or Embassy in India.
- All foreign nationals applying for this applying for this visa must comply with all legal requirements including payment of all taxes due, etc.
- All the documents detailing the foreign national’s employment, responsibilities, salary, etc. must be in order and must pass the scrutiny of the department before a Visa is issued.
- The sponsor’s name (in this case, the sponsoring company’s name) should be clearly specified in the Visa sticker.
- Foreign companies, enterprises, organizations, etc. cannot apply for the issue of an Employment Visa for any of their employees unless and until an Indian company has awarded the former a contract to execute a project in India.
- The responsibility for the conduct of the foreign national Employment Visa holder falls to the Indian company that has hired him/her.
- The Indian company that has hired a foreign national Employment Visa holder is also responsible for ensuring that the Employment Visa holder departs the country on the expiry of the validity of his/her Visa.
Duration And Validity Of An Employment Visa
- Irrespective of the duration of the contract or terms of employment, the Indian Embassy or Consulate may issue an Employment Visa which is valid for a year. If the Visa validity has to be extended, extensions of up to 5 years can be obtained from the FRRO/MHA in the relevant Indian state.
- Foreign technicians can get multiple-entry Employment Visas approved with 5-year validity, or with validity for the entire duration of the bilateral agreement between the Indian and foreign governments.
- Foreign skilled workers employed in the IT or ITES industries can have multiple-entry Employment Visas approved for up to 3 years, or the term of the contract/assignment.
- Foreign skilled workers whose contributions cannot be easily defined but are being employed on a regular or contract basis can have a multiple-entry Employment Visa approved with a validity of 2 years, or the term of the contract/assignment.
If a foreigner visiting India has a Visa that’s valid for less than 180 days, then he/she need not register him/herself with the FRRO/FRO.
Foreigners entering India through Employment Visas that are valid for over 180 days must visit their nearest FRRO/FRO within 14 days of arriving in India and register themselves. The FRRO/FRO may issue a Residential Permit containing the residential address of the Visa holder, but if there is any change in the address, the FRRO/FRO must be notified immediately.
State Governments, FRROs, FROs, and UTs have the authority to extend the validity of an Employment Visa beyond the initial approved period. The validity can be extended up to a total period of 5 years from the date of initial issue. The extensions can be given on an annual basis, and is subject to the Visa holder displaying good conduct and producing the necessary documents that support and validate the Visa holder as an employee or contract worker. Regular filing of Income Tax is also a requirement for validity extension.