March 08, 2013

Registration for a new or renewed Residential Permit with the Pune Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) has increased to at least one to two weeks. As implementation of a new online border control/immigration system is being implemented throughout India, business travelers and assignees should be prepared for possible, slight delays in registering residence in India’s smaller municipalities and rural regions.

IVFRT Implementation Continues Throughout India

Since July 2012, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been implementing a phased approach to implement its centralized border control and immigration compliance technology, the IVFRT (Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration & Tracking).

In general, the IVFRT is designed to standardize border control and immigration compliance with the MHA, major municipal Foreigner’s Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) and smaller, local Foreigner’s Registration Offices (FRO’s) throughout India and to streamline immigration processes at Indian consular posts worldwide. Detailed information on the IVFRT and its scheduled September 2014 completion can be found here (http://www.pro-linkglobal.com/resources/immigration-alerts/2012/india-mission-mode-project-new-visa-issuance-foreigners-registration-and-border-control-tracking-system-a210.aspx).

All FRRO’s in the seven largest cities have now successfully implemented IVFRT and assignees should be experiencing a more streamlined process to register for appointments to submit their Residential Permit applications.

As this is a multi-year implementation, the MHA is now implementing this technology with the smaller, local FRO’s. As variables from dependable electricity to training staff may vary, implementation may create slight delays for assignees wishing to register for new or renewed residence permits or to amend existing permits.

IVFRT Implementation with the Pune FRO

The FRO in the city of Pune (India’s eighth largest city) has advised it is experiencing some delay in fully implementing its IVFRT. The MHA has advised Pune and other FRO’s that systems are expected to be fully utilized within three months of training.

Under the prior, manual system of registration, registration for a Residential Permit in Pune was completed in approximately two weeks, which included the police verification, permit application and collection. This process only required that the assignee personally visit the local police for verification and to submit the application. Collection of the permit could be done by third party.

Under the IVFRT, and until further notice, the new system is also requiring all of the above and that the assignee personally collect the Residential Permit by executing his or her signature before the Pune FRO. Given the current technical difficulties with the IVFRT and this new personal appearance requirement, assignees should expect at least three to four weeks to collect their permits.

Assignees renewing their permits in Pune may also experience delays and requiring their additional personal appearance to execute documents. Processing times for renewing permits may temporarily increase from four to six weeks to six to eight weeks.

By mid-April, it is hoped that the Pune FRO will adapt to the new system for quicker processing and reduce personal appearance requirements.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Please note that there have been reports of certain Indian consular posts issuing Business (“B”) visas with an FRO/FRRO registration endorsement. Therefore, FRRO/FRO registration is not reserved only for long-term assignees. It is recommended that all employees and their accompanying family members (if applicable) check their visas seals for any FRRO/FRO registration endorsement. Please be advised that visas bearing this endorsement will require documentation from the FRRO/FRO, otherwise the visa holder may not be permitted to exit India.

During the next several months, employees visiting or assigned to Pune, smaller municipalities and rural regions of India may experience unforeseen delays in registering with the local FRO.

If FRRO/FRO registration is required, in advance of the employee departing for India, companies are urged to request assistance from their global immigration supplier to gauge current registration requirements and anticipated processing times.

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. This alert was prepared by Glenn Faulk, Senior Manager, Knowledge Management. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in India to provide you this update.

Information contained in this Global Brief is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM network of immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department (km@pro-linkglobal.com) with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.