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The Work Permit Conundrum

 The MDA Government has in a rather impetuous manner announced that it would issue work permits to Bangladeshi nationals working in Meghalaya. First of all, no state can decide to give work permits to any foreign national. That is the remit of the Central Government. And the rules laid out for issuing work permits/employment visas to foreign nationals are very stringent.

Employment Visas are granted to foreign nationals coming to India as consultants on contract for whom the Indian Company pays fixed remuneration (this may not be in the form of a monthly salary). Foreign artists engaged to conduct regular performances for the duration of the employment contract given by Hotels, Clubs or other organizations are granted employment visa. So too foreign nationals who are coming to India to take up employment as coaches of national/state level teams or reputed sports clubs and foreign sportsmen who are given a contract for a specified period by Indian Clubs/Organizations.

 Employment visas are also issued to 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 is permitted under law. Also in the list of those eligible for employment visas are foreign language teachers/interpreters, foreign specialist chefs, foreign nationals deputed for providing technical support/services transfer of know-how/services for which the Indian company pays fee/royalty to the foreign company; senior management personnel and/or specialists employed by foreign firms who are relocated to India to work on specific project/management assignments.

Applicants should be highly skilled and/or qualified professionals being engaged or appointed by a company/organization/industry/undertaking in India on contract or an employment basis at a senior level, skilled position such as technical expert, senior executive, or in a managerial position etc. Employment visa cannot be granted for routine, ordinary or secretarial/clerical jobs. Above all the employee’s salary must be in excess of U.S. $25,000 per year.

Going by the above rules one wonders how the MDA cohort expects to sell its idea to the Centre. Already this proposal has raised the hackles of most NGOs/pressure groups and even ordinary citizens who are already witnessing the evils of unabated influx from Bangladesh. This proposal seems like a foolhardy one prompted by the coal lobby that want cheap labour. It needs to be rejected at once!

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