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Foreigners working in India

On October 12th I happened to watch the news and to see an outraged journalist asking that “how could the UK plan to tighten immigration rules?” Yeah what the hell huh? hat the least they owe the Indians!!


The story here is that till now, “temporary immigration led to an automatic right to settle here”. So if you are a foreigner and you have worked in the UK for 5 years, you can stay without a visa. And now they want to control the immigration of workers.


Before crying wolf, it would be interesting to look at your own immigration rules. Because India is also trying to prevent workers from coming to India and “steal jobs from Indians”! Basically, to prevent Chinese (and some other Asian) laborers to come and take the jobs of Indians, India makes it very difficult for any foreigner to get an employment visa. And then they complain!


So not only do the Indian authorities make it hell to get an employment visa (you need to earn a minimum of US $ 25, 000 per annum,

except if


you are (a) Ethnic cooks,(b) Language teachers (other than English Language Teachers)/Translators, (c) Staff working for the concerned Embassy/High Commission in India and (d) Foreigners coming for honorary work (without Salary) with NGOs registered in the country). And here is what happened when you have renewed your visa 4 times (and thus stayed 5 years working in India)!

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Now you go back home and get a new visa my friend!!

But I guess that since we can count around 50,000 foreign workers in India (out of which 1/3rd is Chinese) against 5 million Indians working abroad, the rules of visa to India do not interest Indians much!  


PS: Foreigners working in India


I found it impossible to find out how many foreigners live in India and how many foreigners work in India!


I found a figure of

 “40,000 expats working in various industries across the country today [2011]”. But does it take into account foreigners locally employed (which are technically expatriates but the term by misuse of language generally qualifies people sent on temporary contract abroad).


I also found a figure of “total of 398,836 foreigners registered as staying in India as of 31 December, 2008, with students accounting for 45,435 followed by 20,394 employees.” Only 2% of employees??? The other 300,000 foreigners are retired or working in the unofficial sector?


“[It was estimated that there were] a little over 15,000 Chinese laborers in India [in 2010]” after that 25,000 Chinese workers were expelled from India for not fulfilling the new visa requirements.


PPS: Indians working abroad


On the other hand, I found out that “there are about 5 million overseas Indian workers all over the world. More than 90% of these workers are in the Gulf countries and Southeast Asia.”

Some workers are skilled and have principally migrated to industrializedcountries in the West: “it is estimated that by 2000, around 1.25 million mostly skilled Indians had emigrated to the industrialized West”. “Indians accounted for more than 40% of the estimated 22,000 entries under the UK Highly Skilled Migrant Program [in 2008]”.

However the majority is of unskilled or low-skilled workers whose principal destination has been the oil-rich Gulf region. It is estimated that by 2000, the Gulf Region countries had become home to more than 3 million Indian migrant laborers. More than 848,000 visas were issued to low-skilled Indians in 2008.”


(More on the Indian Diaspora: Article_India migration_2006.pdf)


NB: Recently, an agreement was signed: “Under the agreement European countries will grant India between 35,000 and 50,000 visas in return for £4billion worth of trade. However, sources have revealed that India are demanding up to 20,000 of them should be provided by the UK, with only 7,000 asked of Germany and 3,000 expected from France. Meanwhile Estonia is expected to accept just 19 individuals. […] The number of foreign workers has increased by 114,000 in the last year – while people born in Britain continued to lose their jobs.”


PPPS: More about Chinese workers in India:


In 2008, the Indian labor and employment ministry “has taken strong exception to the growing number of Chinese semi-skilled workers and technicians illegally working in India after having received business visas. […] The number of Chinese nationals who [were] in India on a business visa [was] estimated to be around 8,000 – 10,000. [It was] said that every year around 60,000 Chinese nationals visit India, one-third of them on business visa.”


In 2010, an interesting article was published in the Washington Post, Chinese workers fuel India's staggering infrastructure boom (Article_Washington Post_Chinese workers in India_2010.pdf).


“In China, we build very fast. Indian workers are slow and sometimes lazy. They are not familiar with modern industrial construction processes."


“Skilled Chinese workers are helping India expand its infrastructure at a frenetic pace, even as the two Asian giants compete for economic dominance. Their presence in a nation of more than a billion people with staggering unemployment may appear incongruent. But the government says Indian workers lack the technical skilled [skilled electricians, carpenters, welders, mechanics and masons who can build mega infrastructure projects] needed to transform the country into a 21st-century economic powerhouse. Most of these workers have to be trained on the job. And that often delays the projects and makes it more expensive."



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