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Only ‘skilled foreigners’ to get work visas under new policy

Only ‘skilled foreigners’ to get work visas under new policy
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First Published: Fri, Jul 23 2010. 12 43 AM IST

Updated: Fri, Jul 23 2010. 12 43 AM IST
New Delhi: The home ministry is preparing a fresh set of guidelines for Indian missions abroad to clear uncertainties in the country’s new visa policy for foreign workers, two senior government officials said.
“Within a couple of days we will issue all the clarifications,” said one of the two, a senior home ministry official.
Pushing an “Indians first” policy, the new rules stipulate that work visas be issued only for skilled foreigners and not for unskilled jobs that can be performed by locals. But the rules have also scrapped conditions on the number of foreign workers that can be hired and salaries for them, as reported by Mint on 6 July.
The new policy has already been communicated to all Indian diplomatic missions.
Earlier rules had stipulated that foreigners shouldn’t comprise more than 1% of a company’s workforce, and that those earning $25,000 or more be counted as skilled workers. A new definition for a skilled worker hasn’t been spelt out. “People are not clear about the 1% cap rule and the $25,000 salary cap,” one official said. Both the officials declined to be named.
According to the new visa policy, reviewed by Mint, the government has directed its missions abroad not to issue visas for jobs for which qualified Indians are available.
The “kind of people who can come to India for work are artists, who have contracts from Indian hotels and entertainment firms and film industry…foreign coaches or sportsmen having contracts with state or regional bodies can also seek for employment visas”, the policy reads.
It adds that employment visas can be given to language teachers, interpreters, chefs, engineers and technicians, as well as self-employed foreigners coming to India for providing engineering, medical, accounting, legal or other such highly skilled services as independent consultants.
The new policy also says foreign engineers or technicians coming to India to install or commission equipment or machines, and those needed for transferring technical know-how will get employment visas.
Under the new policy, foreign nationals must comply with all legal requirements and payment of tax liabilities. They have to submit their professional and academic documents to Indian missions in their respective countries.
Also, they should have been residing in the country from where they are applying for at least the previous two years.
Indian missions abroad have been asked to check documents of proposed employment, registration of companies under the Companies Act.
The duration of an employment visa depends on the bilateral agreement between India and the other country.
Foreigners working for IT companies are given visas for three years or till their term of contract—whichever is earlier.
sahil.m@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Jul 23 2010. 12 43 AM IST