Law Firm in India

Employment Visa: Eligibility and Conversion of Visa

An Employment Visa to work in India is granted to highly skilled and qualified foreign nationals who are appointed by an undertaking in India on contract or employment basis.

An Employment Visa is granted to foreigners desiring to come to India for the purpose of employment, subject to fulfilment of the following eligibility conditions:
  • The  applicant  must be a  highly  skilled  and  qualified  professional,  who  is  being  engaged  or  appointed  by  an undertaking in India on contract or employment basis.
  • Employment  Visa  is not  be  granted  for  jobs  for  which  qualified  Indians  are  available. Employment Visa is also not granted for routine, ordinary or secretarial/clerical jobs.
  • The foreign national who is applying for such visa has to show that the visa is applied  for employment in an India organization  registered  in  India  or  for  employment  in  a  foreign  company engaged  for  execution  of some project in India.
  • The    foreign    national    being    sponsored    for    an    Employment  Visa  in  any  sector  should  draw  a  salary  in  excess  of  US$  25,000  per  annum.    However,  this  condition  of  annual  floor  limit  on  income  will  not  apply  to: 
(a) Ethnic cooks, 
(b) Language teachers (other than English language teachers) / translators and    
(c) Staff working for the concerned Embassy/High Commission in India. 

The application for  Employment  Visa  can  be  rejected in  case  the  minimum  annual  income  benchmark  of  US$  25,000  is  not  met with,  except  in  the  case  of  the  three  categories  mentioned  above. 
  • The   foreign   national   must   comply   with   all   legal   requirements like payment of tax liabilities etc.
  • The   Employment   Visa   must   be   issued   from   the   country  of  origin  or  from  the  country  of  domicile  of  the   foreigner   provided   the   period   of   permanent   residence  of  the  applicant  in  that  particular  country  is  more than 2 years.
  • The  documents/  papers  pertaining  to  the  proposed  employment,  like  the  registration  of  the  company  under  the  Companies  Act,  proof  of  registration  of  the  firm  in  the  State  Industries  Department  or  the  Export  Promotion   Council   concerned,   or   any   recognised   promotional body in the field of industry and trade etc will  be  thoroughly  checked  to  decide  the  category  of  visa that may be issued to the foreigner.
In respect of foreign nationals engaged as teaching faculty at the level of Assistant Professors and above by the Central Higher Educational Institutions viz. Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Central  Universities  (CUs),  National  Institutes  of  Technology  (NITs),  Indian  Institutes  of  Management  (IIMs)  and  Indian  Institutes  of  Science  Education  and  Research  (IISERs),  the  minimum salary limit for grant of Employment visa will be INR.9.10 lakhs per annum.

In  case  if a  foreign  national is coming  on  Employment  visa  for  a  period  of  less  than  one  year,  the minimum salary requirement  will be worked out on pro-rata basis. Further, foreigners employed in BPO/ ITES are not eligible for exemption from annual threshold income limit.

Other Foreign Nationals Eligible for Employment Visa:
  • Foreign  nationals  coming  to  India  as  consultant  on  contract  for  whom  the  Indian  company pays a fixed remuneration (this may not be in the form of a monthly salary).
  • Foreign  artistes  engaged  to  conduct  regular  performances  for  the  duration  of  the  employment contract given by Hotels, Clubs, other organizations.
  • Foreign nationals who are coming to India to take up employment as coaches of national / state level teams or reputed sports clubs
  • Foreign sportsmen who  are  given  contract  for  a  specified  period  by  the  Indian  Clubs/organizations(This  will  not  include  foreign  nationals  who  are  engaged  in  commercial  sports events in India on contract (including coaches), for whom appropriate visa would be B-Sports visa).
  • Self-employed  foreign  nationals  coming  to  India  for  providing  engineering,  medical,  accounting,  legal  or  such  other  highly  skilled  services  in  their  capacity  as  independent  consultants  provided  the  provision  of such  services by  foreign  nationals  is permitted under law.
  • Foreign language teachers/ interpreters.
  • Foreign specialist Chefs (For Foreign Specialist Chefs employed in commercial venture, the minimum salary criteria of INR 16.25 lakhs per annum will be applicable).
  • Foreign Circus Artists
  • Foreign engineers/  technicians  coming  to  India  for  installation  and  commissioning  of  equipment  /  machines  /  tools  in  terms  of  the  contract  for  supply  of  such  equipment  /  machines / tools.
  • Foreign nationals deputed for providing technical support/services, transfer of know-how/services for which the Indian company pays fees/royalty to the foreign company.
  • Foreign journalists, who intend to travel to India to work in Indian media organizations.
  • Employees  /  Managers  coming  to  India  for  non-journalistic  activities  within  media  organizations.
Duration of Employment Visa:


Duration of Employment Visa

A  foreign  technician/expert  coming  to  India  in  pursuance   ofa bilateral   agreement   between   the   Government of India and the foreign government, or in pursuance  of  a  collaboration  agreement  that  has  been  approved by the Government of India

Duration  of  the  agreement or  for  a  period of five years, whichever is less, with multiple entry facilities

Highly skilled foreign personnel being employed in the IT software and IT enabled sectors

Up to three years or term of assignment,  whichever  is  less, with multiple entry facilities

Foreigner  coming  for  employment  not  covered  in  the first or second point mentioned above

Up to (two)  years  or  the  term  of  assignment,  whichever  is  less,  with  multiple entry facility

Registration requirements:

If the Employment visa is valid for a period of more than 180 days, the foreign  national  concerned  should register  with  the  Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO)/ Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) concerned  within  14  days  of  arrival.  In the case of Employment Visa issued for a period of 180 days or less, registration is not required with FRRO/FRO.

Extension of Employment Visa:

The Employment visa may be extended by the concerned FRRO/FRO beyond  the  initial  visa  validity  period,  up  to  a  total  period  of  5  years  from  the  date of issue of the initial Employment Visa, on an year to year basis.

Employment visa for foreigners wishing to work with NGOs registered in India:
  • A foreigner  who  wishes  to  come  to  India  for  honorary  work    (without  salary)  with  NGOs  registered in India can be granted multiple entry Employment (E-4) Visa for one year initially. 
  • The  foreigners  eligible  for  honorary  work  with  the  NGOs  can  be  paid  an  honorarium  up to a  ceiling of INR 10,000 per month. 
  • The visa can be extended by FRRO / FRO concerned for a total period of 5 years from the date of issue of the initial Employment Visa, on a year to year basis.
Visa for the family members of a foreigner who has been granted an Employment Visa in India:

The family  members or dependents  of  a  foreigner  who  has been granted an Employment visa  can  be  granted  dependent visa of appropriate sub-category. Its validity would be co-terminus with the validity of the visa of the principal visa holder (or for such shorter period as may be considered necessary). The family members or dependents can also obtain  Student/Research  Visa provided they are otherwise eligible for grant of such a visa.  Dependent visa of the family members/ dependents of such foreign national can be extended by the FRRO/ FRO concerned for a total period of 5 years from the date of issue of the initial visa, co-terminus with the visa of the principal Visa holder.  
Conversion of Employment Visa:

Employment  Visa  will  be  non-convertible  to  any  other  type  of  visa  except  in  specific  cases. Regarding  conversion  of  Employment  visa  to  other  categories  of  visa,  please  see  the  general  policy guidelines relating to Indian visa on this website. 

a) Conversion  of  ‘E-3X’  visas  to ‘E’  visas  of  the  spouse  of  an  employee  on  intra-company transfer:

The  conversion  of  ‘E-3X’  (Entry)  visa  of  the  spouse  of  an  employee  on  intra-company  transfer  into Employment Visa can be  permitted within the country , subject to the applicant fulfilling all the conditions  laid  down  for  grant  of  Employment  Visa,  with  prior  approval  of  the  Ministry  of  Home Affairs.

b) Conversion  of  ‘X-2’  Visa  of  nationals  of  Bangladesh  married  to  Indian  nationals  into  Employment Visa:

‘X-2’ Visa of nationals of Bangladesh married to Indian nationals, but not entitled to registration as OCI cardholder, can be converted into Employment Visa, on application, by the Ministry of Home Affairs.  The applicant must draw a minimum salary of.INR 9.10 lakhs per annum.  The period of this visa will be for one year and can be extended on a yearly basis (without any limit) by the FRRO/ FRO concerned. Any  change  in  the  employer  will  be  permitted  only with  the  prior  approval  of  the  Ministry  of  Home  Affairs  (Foreigners  Division). If the applicant discontinues the employment, their visa could be converted into ‘X-2’ Visa.

Change of Employer:

Change of employer is generally not permitted during the currency of the Employment Visa, except in cases of change of employment between a registered  holding  company, Joint  Ventures  &  Consortiums  and  its  subsidiaries  and  vice-versa  or  between  subsidiaries  of  a  registered  holding    company, Joint Ventures & Consortiums. Change of employment would be permitted at a senior level e.g.  managerial or a senior executive position and/ or at a skilled  position  e.g.  a technical  expert. Prior permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs is required for change of employment.

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