Many significant changes applicable to Indian immigration law
have been introduced recently by the Government of India. With a
view to sustaining India's economic development, protecting the
interests of Indian nationals working overseas and maintaining
reciprocity with foreign countries, these modifications go a long
way to boost the India Inc.'s current 'Make in India'
Change of Employer for an Employment Visa Holder
An Employment visa holder, who needs to change his or her
employer once he is in India, has to apply to the Ministry of Home
Affairs (MHA) for approval. The MHA may, on the basis of the merits
of each case grant the change of employer, but this can be done
only once during the five year tenure of the original employment
The criteria based on which MHA could consider approving the
A foreign national who holds a senior position or is a highly
skilled person within an organization in India;
When a foreign national changes employment between a
registered holding company and its subsidiaries; and
The company that originally employed the foreign national
issues a no objection letter.
Converting a dependent ('X') visa into an employment
A dependent (X) visa is given to the spouse of a foreign
national employed in India. Generally an 'X entry visa holder
is not allowed to work to generate any income while in India by way
of Employment, commerce, business or any other economic activity.
The MHA now allows that an X visa holder any convert it into an
employment visa within India provided that:
The dependent visa holder has accompanied their spouse who is
on a valid employment visa; and
The dependent visa holder independently qualifies for an
MHA could take approximately two to three months to process
Electronic Visas and Visa on Arrival
Visitors from over 40 countries, including Israel,
Palestine, Germany and the U.S. can now enter India with the
Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) also referred to as a Tourist
Visa on Arrival (TVoA) that can be obtained before arriving at
designated airports in India.
This facility is available for international travellers who
visit India for recreation, sightseeing, casual visits to meet
friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual
business. The request may be approved within 72 hours of submitting
the application. If the ETA is granted, travel and stay
within India for 30 days from the date of arrival is allowed
without any extensions.
The Indian government, in due course, is likely to extend
this facility to nationals of most counties except those from
countries like Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria,
Sri Lanka and Somalia.
PIO OCI cards merger:
On January 9, 2015, the Government of India passed an ordinance
declaring People of Indian Origin (pio) cards to be now called as
Overseas Citizen of India (oci) cards.
Person of Indian Origin (pio) Card was issued
to a foreign national who could prove his or her Indian origin up
to three prior generations. A foreign national spouse of a citizen
of India could also apply for a pio card. A pio card holder could
originally enter into India without visa for 15 years and take up
employment without visa. A pio card holder was exempted from
registration with FRRO or FRO if the period of stay in India is
less than 180 days.
In September 2014, this period of 15 years was extended to a
lifetime with total exemption from Registration for a pio card
holder. With the recent merger of pio and oci cards, a pio holder
will get the all the benefits as a oci holder gets.
Overseas Citizens of India card may be issued
to eligible foreign nationals including, among a few other
categories, certain persons of Indian origin and individuals whose
parents or grandparents have migrated from India after January 26,
1950, and their minor children. Spouses of foreign origin of a
citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an oci cardholder
whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous
period of not less than two years are also eligible to obtain an
Registration as an oci is a one-time process that grants certain
benefits like that is lifelong multi-entry, multi–purpose
visa to visit, live or work in India. An oci card holder is not
required to register with any FRRO or FRO for any length of
Citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries specified
by the central government are not eligible for the oci card.
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In response to growing demands to introduce dual citizenship from its overseas diaspora,
India introduced the concept of the person of Indian origin (a "PIO") in 2002 and an overseas
citizen of India (an "OCI") in 2006 as categories of persons who enjoy certain legal rights in
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