Given below is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding Project visas to India:
- What is a Project Visa?
- Which sectors does the Project Visa cover?
- What are some of the restrictions for Project Visa holders?
A special visa has been designed for those highly skilled/skilled foreign national workers that are being sent by foreign companies on a temporary basis to lend their skill to the completion of a particular sanctioned project in India. This is not issued to foreign nationals seeking employment in India – they should apply for the Employment Visa.
The Project Visa is issued to highly skilled/skilled workers sent to work on projects in the Power and Steel sectors.
- Project Visa holders cannot seek employment in India.
- Project Visa holders can only work on the project for which they’ve been sent across, and only at the physical location of the work being done.
- Project Visa holders cannot seek employment in the same Indian company for a period of at least 2 years from the date on which the project was commissioned.
- A Protected/Restricted Area permit is a necessary endorsement on the Visa if the project site is anywhere within the limits of a Protected/Restricted area (as notified by the Government).
- Foreign nationals travelling on Project Visas are required to register themselves with the FRO/FRRO within 14 days of their arrival in India (if the Project Visa has been issued for a period greater than 180 days).
Visa applicants and the companies that employ them must ensure that these specific conditions are fulfilled for a Project Visa:
- This is a project specific Visa, and as such, a specific endorsement will be present on the Visa sticker itself that indicates the exact name of the project in question and the location of the project.
- The Project Visa holder will not be allowed to work on any other project at any other location, apart from the one indicated on the Project Visa sticker.
- The validity of this Visa is set according to the results of the investigation and scrutiny performed by the Indian Mission or Post. The Indian Mission or Post will take into account the exact duration of the project itself and the contribution to be made by the worker to whom a Project Visa is being issued. The total duration of validity of the Project Visa is either one full year, or the duration of the project, whichever is lesser.
- Unskilled and semi-skilled workers cannot be sent to India on a Project Visa.
- Up to 2 chefs and 2 interpreters (per project) can be granted a Project Visa in addition to core skilled and highly skilled personnel.
- Relevant documents must be submitted which contain language that clearly confirms that the project was assigned to a foreign company legally by the Indian company for whom the project was sanctioned.
- The conduct and eventual departure of the foreign national on a Project Visa will have to be overseen and managed by the Indian Company that has engaged the services of the Project Visa holder.
- The Indian Company that engages the services of highly skilled or skilled foreign national workers will also be responsible for ensuring that the latter abides by the rules in the Visa, and departs by the time the Project Visa expires.
- Details of the foreign national Project Visa holder must be made available to the Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division) and the relevant State Government in case the project or contract work site falls within a protected or restricted area. This is to be done to ensure that a Protected/Restricted Areas Permit is issued at the right time after clearing all necessary security checks.
The maximum number of Project Visas that can be issued for a particular project depends on the nature of the project and the sector under which the project is categorized. Details are given as under:
Power projects. For projects that can be categorized as being in the Power sector:
- A block of two units can be taken as one project.
- If a foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) has provided the primary plant equipment of a Boiler Turbine Generator (BTG) and its required subsystems, the maximum number of foreign skilled or highly skilled workers that are allowed can be between 50 and 70.
- For any Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) project consisting of two units of 660 MW (or above) with supercritical technology that has sourced its equipment, main plant, required subsystems, Balance of Plant (BOP) either in full or in part, etc. from a foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), the maximum number of foreign skilled or highly skilled workers than are allowed can be between 76 to 125.
- For projects that have more than two units, the maximum number of foreign skilled or highly skilled workers is given below:
|Additional Unit (for units which result in the project size going over 600MW capacity)||Where BTG and all required subsystems are supplied by a foreign OEM||Where an EPC project has equipment, plant, required subsystems and BOP in full or in part supplied by a foreign OEM|
|1st additional unit||105||187|
|2nd additional unit||122||219|
|3rd additional unit||140||250|
|4th additional unit||157||281|
- If a foreign company or agency has supplied a Flue Gas Desulphurization System (FGD) to a power project in India, 25 additional skilled and highly skilled workers can be issued Project Visas.
- For projects where a foreign agency or company has supplied a Flue Gas Desulphurization System (FGD) for a larger number of units (over 2 units), additional skilled and highly skilled workers can be issued Project Visas. The exact numbers are as follows:
- 37 additional workers can enter through a Project Visa for the 1st additional unit.
- 44 additional workers can enter through a Project Visa for the 2nd additional unit.
- 50 additional workers can enter through a Project Visa for the 3rd additional unit.
- 56 additional workers can enter through a Project Visa for the 4th additional unit.
Steel projects. For projects that can be categorized as being in the Steel sector:
- Either 300 persons, or 10% of the total skilled manpower that’s been deployed per 1 million tonne capacity for green field projects.
- Either 150 persons, or 5% of the total skilled manpower that’s been deployed per 1 million tonne capacity for brown field projects.
- The sponsoring authority should determine the total manpower requirement of the project in question at the conceptualization stage with a flow chart.
- Concerned Ministries will form a Standing Committee which will be responsible for examining foreign manpower requirements above a certain level.
- The Ministry of Labour and Employment may allow a certain project to exceed guidelines in terms of how many foreign skilled and highly skilled workers may be deployed on ongoing projects with contractual obligations.