December 9, 2010

In our last Global Brief on India, Pro-Link announced that a special project visa was in the pipeline, and also alerted our readers to the removal of the 1% quota, or cap, for employment visas provided the visa holder was earning at least $25,000USD per annum.  We are now able to provide more details of the project visa as well as some recently issued clarifications around the minimum salary requirement.

Project Visas

The new project (“P”) visa has been introduced specifically for employers in the power and steel sectors to bring in foreign nationals to execute short term projects or contracts.

 Key details are as follows:

  • Project visas are project specific, valid for up to one year and are multiple entry.
  • Applicants must be highly skilled.
  • A project visa holder, once he or she has entered India with the project visa, is then barred from employment with the same Indian company for a period of two years from the date of project commission.  However, entry to India may be granted as a business visitor.
  • Project visas issued for protected/restricted areas (as designated by the Indian government) will be issued only with additional security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs and will take significantly longer to approve.
  • FRRO/FRO registration is required within 14 days if the visa is valid for 180 days or more, as with other types of visa.
  • A new application form has been developed specifically for the Project Visa
  • Sector specific ceilings on the number of project visas to be issued per project have been put in place: more details are available at this link.

Minimum Salary Clarifications 

The Ministry of Home Affairs has also issued guidance on the newly introduced minimum salary level of $25,000 for employment visas, as follows:

  • Allowances may be included towards minimum salary level; however non-cash benefits (e.g. company car, housing paid for directly by the company) may not be included
  • Employment visa renewal applications will not be approved where the salary is less than $25,000.  Applicants not meeting the minimum salary requirement may apply to extend their visas; however, exit visas will be issued in place of extensions, and the applicants will be asked to leave India within three months of the expiry of the current visa.
  • Employment visa applicants in the fields of modeling, advertising, circus performers or Bollywood artists will be required to furnish evidence within three months of FRRO/FRO registration in India that they will be paid at least $25,000USD over the course of one year, despite the fact that such applicants do not typically have one year contracts.  If unable to supply such evidence, exit visas will be issued, and the applicants will be asked to leave India within three months of the expiry of the current visa.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS 

Note the new Project Visa category.  Pro-Link GLOBAL will advise on a case by case basis if this is applicable to your employees.

Note that allowances may be included towards minimum salary requirements.

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. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in India to provide you this update.