February 21, 2011

India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has issued new guidelines on work related visas, stating that it is now possible to convert an X entry visa (issued for dependents of employees) into an employment visa without leaving India.  Previously, if the dependent spouse of a foreign national employee in India found employment, he/she was required to exit India, apply for a new employment visa in his/her own right, and re-enter with the new visa.

Conditions for Conversion of X Visa to Employment Visa

The following conditions must be met:

  1. The applicant must meet all normal employment visa conditions.  In summary, these conditions include: the need for the applicant to be highly skilled, engaged or appointed by the India entity on a contract or employment basis, and paid a minimum salary of $250000USD per annum (for all professions other than ethnic cooks, language teachers other than English language teachers, translators, diplomatic staff)
  2. Prior approval for the conversion must be given by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which will first obtain a report from the Foreigners (Regional) Registration Office (F(R)RO) in the area of residence of the applicant.

Pro-Link GLOBAL will be pleased to assist with conversion applications; however please note that as the process is as yet untested, nd as no clear guidance has yet been issued on how the report from the F(R)RO to the MHA will be provided, it seems likely that processing time may be lengthy.  Pro-Link GLOBAL will advise on a case-by-case basis.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

  • Note that, effective immediately, conversion from an X visa to an employment visa in-country is possible
  • Note that clear guidance on how the report from the F(R)RO will be handled by the MHA has not been provided; this processing time for the conversion is not possible to estimate
  • Where relevant, notify employees and/or hiring managers in India.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader  

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.