Govt relaxes visa norms for IT sector

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Updated: May 25 2010, 02:34am hrs
IT industry body Nasscom has said the government has eased norms for hiring of expats by IT industry by allowing companies to hire foreign nationals as per requirement against the earlier limit of a maximum of 20 employees per project.

For the information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITeS) companies, there was a cap on employment visas to one per cent of the total persons employed on a project, subject to a maximum of 20 employees.

For relaxation in the upper limit, companies were required to take permission from the ministry of labour.

This change (the relaxation in norms) is good for the sector. This will allow free movement of talent, Nasscom Vice President Sangeetha Gupta told PTI.

The Ministry of External Affairs has already circulated new guidelines to all missions abroad informing them of the relaxation in procedures for IT-ITeS firms, she added.

Even the cap on number of foreign employees who can come to India has been withdrawn, the government has put a condition that workers should draw a minimum salary of USD 25,000 annually.

The foreign worker being sponsored will have to give a declaration to the effect that his annual salary is in excess of USD 25,000 per annum.

Last year, government had introduced a number of changes in the visa rules after it found that there were thousands of low or semi skilled workers from neighbouring countries coming to India.

Nasscom, the industry body, had lobbied hard against the move arguing that the industry needs foreign professionals to run their business smoothly.

Most of the IT firms have global operations and in a globalised economy there should be no cap on the movement of high-skilled workforce, Gupta added.