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What it takes to get an Indian business visa

Indians always had problems securing visa — specially work visa. After all, we are one of the largest labour exporters in the world.

Puja Mehra | Print Edition: November 29, 2009

Indians always had problems securing visa — specially work visa. After all, we are one of the largest labour exporters in the world. As it turns out, India is also emerging as a big labour importer, and, therefore, getting a work visa to India is not easy anymore. After the recent controversy over the number of Chinese workers in India, the government has revised the guidelines for issuing work visas to foreign nationals. Foreigners on business visas who do not fulfil the norms have been asked to leave India on or before November 30, 2009. Here is a gist of what the new rules say:

Two types of visas: India issues two types of work visa—Visa B for business purposes, and Visa E for employment purposes.

Who Gets Visa B and How:

Business visas will be issued only in specific situations, if the applicant meets any of the following norms:

  • Foreign nationals coming to explore the possibility of setting up or to set up a business venture in India.
  • Those coming to India for technical or board meetings.
  • Experts coming for a short duration in connection with an ongoing project, specifically to monitor progress or conduct meetings.
  • Foreign trainees of MNCs coming to India to attend in-house training at a regional hub of the company.

Who Gets Visa E and How:

Employment visas will be granted to applicants who are not only skilled for the job in question, but also if there is a shortage of enough qualified Indian candidates for the same skill. Further, since an E visa needs a sponsor, only those foreign companies that have either a branch office, a subsidiary or a joint venture in India can sponsor a visa. However, if an Indian company has awarded a contract to a foreign company, the Indian firm, too, can sponsor the visa. Those eligible for an E visa include:

  • Foreign nationals coming to execute a project regardless of the duration of the visit.
  • Those coming as trainers or for coaching jobs in India.
  • Foreigners coming as on-contract consultants for a fixed salary.

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