The Central Government has issued fresh guidelines that aim to simplify the employment visa process so as to benefit foreign nationals working in India, in the information technology (“IT”) sector.
Highlights:-The guidelines issued on 26 April 2010 (“new guidelines”) are measures taken by the Government to counter the adverse effects of the employment visa (“E-visa”) notification of December 2009. In terms of the new guidelines, E-visa applications sponsored by qualifying Indian IT companies will be processed by the Indian missions abroad and will not be subjected to any quota restrictions.
Qualifying IT & ITeS Companies
New guidelines have identified eligible companies to mean IT and Information Technology enabled Services (“ITeS”) Companies providing business, finance and technology services. Further, the individual services have also been defined as under:
Conditions for simplified procedure
The guidelines prescribe three cumulative conditions to be satisfied to be eligible for the simplified E-visa processing. These are:
If the application satisfies the above conditions, then the Indian missions overseas have been authorized to issue E-visa without any approval from any authority in India. The E-visa can be issued for lower of assignment duration or a period of 3 years. This can be extended for upto 5 years from the date of issue of initial visa. The application will not be subject to the normal quota restrictions wherein number of foreign nationals was restricted to 1% of the total workforce of the Indian Company or 20 (40 in specified industries) individuals, whichever is less.
However, the government has clarified that the existing quota and visa processing requirements will be applicable for individuals from PRC countries though PRC has not been defined and a clarification is expected. The guidelines relating to security confirmation issued by Ministry of Home Affairs will apply to qualifying applications referred to above.
Indian IT, ITeS companies that satisfy the prescribed criteria will be able to avail services of skilled foreign nationals without any restriction on the number of such individuals who can obtain E-visa.
Source: New guidelines on Employment visa issued by Ministry of External Affairs dated 26 April, 2010