The Ministry of Home Affairs (‘MHA’), Government of India had in August, 2010 clarified that the number of employment visas that may be granted to foreign nationals employed in sectors other than the IT Software and IT enabled Services sector (‘IT Sector’) would be subject to the limits prescribed by the Ministry of Labour and Employment (‘MLE’) i.e. 1% of the total workers subject to a maximum of 20 and had clarified that these limits would not apply to the IT Sector.

The MHA has now issued further clarifications in the form of revised FAQs1 which suggests that the limit on the number of employment visas that may be granted to foreign nationals employed in the sectors other than the IT sector has also been removed, i.e. the limits on all sectors have been removed.

Key Clarifications

 

  • The number of employment visas that may be granted to the foreign nationals employed in any sector (IT sector or other sector) will not be subject to any limit.
  • Irrespective of the sector, the employment visa will be granted to a foreign national only if his salary is in excess of USD 25,000 per annum and the application for the employment visa may be rejected by the Indian Mission/Post concerned in case this threshold is not met. However, the said salary limit is not applicable to ethnic cooks, language (other than English)  teachers/translators, staff working for the high commission/consulate in India. If the income threshold is met, there will be no need to refer such cases to the MLE in India for clearance.

Our Comments:-The removal of the limit on the number of the employment visas will provide a relief to many Indian companies including those engaged in infrastructure projects which require large number of highly skilled foreign nationals. In addition, the policy to grant employment visas only to foreign nationals who have salary in excess of USD 25, 000 per annum will generally ensure that employment visas are not granted for routine, ordinary or clerical jobs.

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