Changes announced for Employment, Business and Project Visas

10 Jun 14

INDIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has published several changes to its visa rules.

What does the change mean? The main changes affect Employment, Business and Project Visas.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment, Business and Project Visas.
  • Who is affected: Employers and all foreign nationals applying for Business and Project Visas; and nationals of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran and Sri Lanka who are married to Indian nationals.
  • Impact on processing times: The changes should speed up processing times.
  • Business impact: The changes generally make it easier to extend Business and Project Visas.

Background: The Ministry of Home Affairs published the changes May 29. The major changes are as follows:

  1. Business Visas. Applications for extensions of Business Visas must now be submitted to Foreign Registration Offices (FROs) and Foreign Regional Registration Offices (FRROs) rather than to the Ministry of Home Affairs. In addition, the requirement that annual sales or turnover must be over Rs 1 Crore (10 million rupees) within two years of the business start date will now apply only to foreign nationals who apply for extensions who were granted Business Visas for the purpose of establishing an industrial business.
  2. Employment Visas. The minimum annual salary required for employment visas has been reduced from 25,000 USD to 14,000 USD for foreign nationals of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran and Sri Lanka who are married to Indian nationals and who are not eligible for PIO (Person of Indian Origin) cards. They may only obtain Employment Visa extensions from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  3. Project Visas. The first extension application for a period of one year may be granted by state and union territory administrations after they receive field reports from FROs and FRROs. Subsequent extensions must first get approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  4. Visa Conversions. X (Entry) Visas for foreign nationals of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran and Sri Lanka who are married to Indian nationals and who are not eligible for PIO cards may be converted to Employment Visas through the Ministry of Home Affairs subject to security checks. The new minimum salary of USD14,000 per annum will apply to these conversions.

BAL Analysis: The transfer of authority for business and project visa extensions to local authorities will ease administrative burdens on companies and foreign assignees applying for extensions, and result in faster processing of business and project visa extensions.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in India. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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