India is a fascinating but challenging country in which to find work and your success in doing so as an expat will very much depend on the sector in which you specialize. People working in engineering, education, medicine, technical industries, accounting and legal work are likely to have the highest chance of success and to be granted a work visa. If you already work for an international company which has a branch in India, and would like to be transferred, this is also a possible option.The Indian government state that you will stand the best chance of being successful in your visa application if:
• you are highly skilled and working at a senior level (a visa will not be granted for clerical or secretarial work, for example)
• there is not a qualified Indian who could do your prospective job
• the company must be either registered in India or is an international company undertaking work in the country
• you must be earning over $25K a year (there are some exceptions to this, for example translators and some teaching staff)
• you must comply with all legal requirements, such as paying tax
• your company must be clearly stipulated in the visa
• you will need a sponsor (this does not necessarily have to be your employer)
however, your company is responsible for your conduct while you are in India
You will need to supply the following documentation:
• passport (valid for at least a year and contain three blank pages)
• copy of your passport’s first pages
• visa application form
• additional work visa application form (to be downloaded on Indian Visa Online)
• your employment contract, written in English and referring to the duration and conditions of the contract
• your resume (in English)
• tax liability details
• copies of your diplomas and qualifications
• a copy of your employer’s registration certificate
Your visa may be for the duration of one year, regardless of the length of time of the actual contract, but it can if necessary be extended for 5 years by the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FFRO).
As above, workers in senior management or highly skilled employees in specific sectors are likely to continue to be in demand. You will not need to be bilingual in any of the main Indian languages (although this will be appreciated): the main business language of India remains English, a legacy of the Raj.
However, this also means that teaching English (TEFL) is not as much in demand as it is in other countries, although the British Council runs a programme, Teach India, with a number of educational institutions. Places are said to be very competitive but if you have a degree, a TEFL qualification, and experience, this should stand you in good stead.
You may also be able to procure a short-term internship, for instance, in a STEM sector.
Major industries are:
• food processing
• information technology (IT)
• the auto industry
Some of the coastal areas have vacancies in the hospitality industry and summer jobs – for example, in camps for children or conservation projects. A large number of jobs are available in the northern cities, but Bengaluru in the south has seen a tech boom in recent years.
Working hours are capped at 48 hours per week and 9 hours a day, although some expats warn that there are companies which flout this, preferring to pay the fine rather than stick to the existing legislation, particularly in white collar industries (factories are held more closely to the law). A one-hour lunch break is typical for an 8 hour day.
The minimum wage from 2020 is expected to be in the region of 160IR (€2.09) per day, somewhat down from the 178IR (€2.25) legislated for in the recent overhaul of the wage system and the establishment of a minimum wage.
The Maternity Benefit Amendment Act of 2017 has increased the duration of paid maternity leave from an existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks. You will be eligible on full pay if you have been working for a company for 80 days in the year prior to delivery. It is estimated, however, that this only benefits around 1% of working Indian women. As an expat, especially if you work for an international company, you can expect to earn more and also be able to claim maternity benefit.
Your spouse will be able to work if they are able to obtain a separate work permit. If both of you are professional and of a senior status, or have specialist skills, then it should be possible.
Note that if you bring your dependents into the country on the basis of employment, they will be issued with an X-visa with the same expiration date as your employment visa. If your spouse comes in on an X-visa, and then wishes to take up employment, they will need to leave the country and apply for an employment visa.
Note, too, that an employment visa and a business visa are different documents: the latter will be applied if you are coming in and out of India for business reasons.
Websites and the local press are good sources of information, but depending on your sector, you can also use international recruitment agencies as well. If you are on the ground in India, networking and word of mouth remain helpful when it comes to vacancies.
You can also make speculative applications to companies.
Applying For A Job
A standard CV/resume is recommended: most applications can be made online, after which you will be asked to attend an interview if a prospective employer wishes to take this to another stage.
Under Article 14 of Indian law, discrimination is outlawed on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, and place of birth. In practice, however, inequalities remain within the country. Women, for instance, are paid significantly less than their male counterparts so do not be surprised if you encounter institutionalized sexism.
Qualifications And Training
You will stand a significantly better chance of gaining employment in India if you are at a senior or specialist level. Qualifications are highly regarded in the country and it is recommended that you send full details when applying for work. You may also wish to have your qualifications apostilled.
Would you like to share your experience of life abroad with other readers? Answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!