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Be sure to hire Highly Skilled employees for India assignments- India Immigration Rules- Evolving Changes and Compliance

  1. Indian Government is stressing upon hiring highly skilled employees by each Company.
  2. Detailed scrutiny is being done of the documents and even educational qualification documents are being requested by the Government authorities from every expatriate while he/she is here in India on Employment. 

Though India had a Foreigners Act which was established in 1946 even before India attained Independence in 1947, for several years the rules and regulations of this act had not been amended. However, with the present Government resuming office in 2014, there have been a lot of changes and amendments that are being introduced for improving the processes for making smooth immigration experience for all the expatriates. There is also a lot of stress on keeping a check on applicants and/or Companies who are not being compliant to the rules and regulations of the land. India faces a lot of issues of visa violations and in certain cases, these could be linked to national security also. 

Thus, the Government of India and in particular the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is working in the direction of making every foreigner compliant to the rules of the country.  There was equally a stress on making these Immigration processes more simpler and easier for foreigners at the same time. The first step in this direction was to make all the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) services Online and remove in-person visit of the foreigner to the FRRO office. All the FROs (Foreigners Registration Office) which were there in the smaller cities were merged into the FRROs and the MHA made one main FRRO for each state and in some cases one FRRO to handle the workload for more than one state based on the volume of foreigners visiting each state in India. The MHA also further empowered the FRROs with more decision-making powers so that the processes and applications could be processed faster and as much as possible less hassle-free for the foreigner. Another big advantage of making these processes online was to curb the menace of bribery. The Government wants to make sure that there is a zero-tolerance for bribery and abide by the FCPA Act. 

Some of the significant changes that have been implemented are 

  1. Electronic Certificates being issued and removing the need for visiting the FRRO for any visa stamping
  2. Children below the age of 12 years do not require to register with the FRRO
  3. For Japanese nationals, their Resident Permits are issued co-terminus to their visa validity. So in case of a three visa if an applicant holds he will be issued a Resident Permit for 3 years
  4. All communication from the FRRO is received through email and SMS to the applicant also
  5. Now every applicant needs to provide his highest educational degree as well as Experience certificates for any service to be done at the FRRO.  

While the Government is working towards making the process smooth they are also working on making every one compliant to the regulations. These steps or measures can be seen from the below requirement for during any FRRO service.

  1. Every time an expat is travelling in and out of India the passport is being tracked through Immigrations and the FRROs now get all data as and when the expat travels
  2. Any visa violation is being checked and if found then the expats are being issued Exit Permit and asked to leave the country. 
  3. The FRROs have now been empowered to either recategorize the visa issued by the Indian Missions or even refuse to register the expat in case they find that the expat has been given incorrect visa by the Indian Mission.
  4. The FRROs are sending out text messages to every applicant once their visa expires and if they have not extended their visa in time. Below is one such example:-

Mr/Miss,NAME National Of JAPAN Holding Passport Number ….is Hereby Informed That As Per Records Available In Our System, Your Visa/Extension Has Expired On 30-Jun-2019. Please Visit The Nearest FRRO/Fro/Sp Office For Regularizing Your Stay In India Or Leave The Country As You Are Violating The Foreigners Act, 1946 Of The Government Of India. You Can Be Imprisoned And Penalized For Violations As Per Provisions In The Law. If You Have already taken the action for Extension/Exit/PIO/OCI then ignore this message.

We see these steps and changes as positive and in the right direction towards making India as a Compliant Country at the same time having ease of doing business with the improvements in the Immigration processes.

Vibhuti Shah

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