A checklist to give to your expats employees.

India boasts of a rich and diverse culture across its geographical boundaries. India is divided into 29 states and each of these states has its unique cultural background be it food, festivals or the regional dialect. But, moving to India and getting acclimatized to the cultural changes can be overwhelming for some. For organizations, introducing expats to the Indian culture can be a complex process. For one, it’s impossible to give a deep insight into India all at once. However, a brief introduction to India can help your employees get off on the right foot. Here’s a curated checklist of some essentials, expats should know of, before moving to India.

  1. Visa Guidelines

The visa guidelines are the first and foremost thing that one should know about a country they are planning to move to. Before hiring expats you need to nail down the visa formalities and other guidelines like duration, renewal process etc. This is critical -so pay it more attention than anything else!

  1. Weather

Besides the Indian culture, expats often face difficulties in getting accustomed to the high temperatures and the high humidity in the country. You need to inform your incoming expats regarding the average temperatures during summer and winter in the city that the expats will be living in. You can help them in packing right for the region they will be based in.

  1. Driving Rules

Many countries have right-hand side driving. It is important to inform the expats about the left-hand side driving as well as the traffic rules followed in India before they step out on the roads. That, and the barely-organised chaos that rules Indian streets -your expat employees should be prepared to deal with numerous near-misses and scrapes each day they’re on the road.

  1. Currency

It is always good to mention the exchange rate of INR with the expat’s home country at the very start. This will help them in managing their money efficiently while in India. In addition to this, help them in understanding the value of the Indian rupee to safeguard them from local vendors that are always on a look to dupe foreigners with high prices.

  1. Major Festivals & Holidays

India is among the countries with the maximum national and public holidays. Help the expats in understanding the major festivals celebrated across the country along with regional festivals that they should be aware of. Provide them with a list of major holidays and festivals observed in the country and the particular region they are residing in. This will impact their work, the schools their kids go to, and the hired help they keep at home.

  1. Introduction to the City

Introducing India to the expats can be a tedious task initially. In order to avoid confusion and time, start with a guide to the city in which they will be living. Focus on essentials -police, hospitals, essential services, as well as entertainment and shopping options. Tell them about the local “places to go and things to do.” This will help them in understanding their local environment better and to settle in faster.

  1. Basics of Hindi or Regional Language

In order to survive in India, it is useful to learn or know at least a few basic words or phrases in Hindi or the local dialect of their residing area. For example, you can teach them basic Hindi words like “Haan” (Yes) and “Nahi”(No) for starters.

  1. Food

Along with the diverse culture, India boasts of a wide culinary variety. Every region has a different taste, cuisine, and recipes. It will be a good idea to introduce the expats to this wide range of delectable food choices. They can start slow and then get more adventurous with the spice and oil options as they get acclimatised.

  1. Cost of Living

It will be a good idea to help your incoming expat employees prepare a rough monthly budget depending upon their specific requirements. Inform them about things like the average rent they should be paying in their city of residence. This will help them in understanding the cost of living in India and to manage their overall finances better.

Besides these general checkpoints, it is important to update the expats about medical requirements too. Here’s a list of some essential vaccinations that the expats should get done with before moving to India:

  1. Malaria

Some places in India are rife with mosquitoes and expats are at higher risk to get infected with malaria. It is advisable to take a malaria vaccine before travelling to India.

  1. Hepatitis A & B

It is recommended to get Hepatitis A vaccine as expats have a lower immunity to the food and water in India. Consuming contaminated or poor-quality food and water can infect them with Hepatitis A. It is also advisable to take the Hepatitis B vaccine.

 

  1. Typhoid

Foreigners visiting India have been known to contract typhoid due to the consumption of contaminated water or food. To stay safe while savouring the delectable Indian food, it is advisable to take a typhoid vaccine before landing in India.

  1. Rabies

This is the most important vaccine if the expat that you are hiring is an animal lover. Indian cities are home to many stray cats and dogs. If they feel drawn towards these stray animals, it is always good to stay protected with the rabies vaccine.

There’s always more that expats could do to prepare for a move to India. But providing the expats with this checklist will help them ensure a good and memorable trip to India. Welcome to India!

FRRO_FRO_ Rules_India_Visa_Immigration

Some Essential Things You Need to Know About FRRO Rules in India – by Preeti Roongta – Founder – Lexagent Expat Relocations

A key responsibility of Foreign Nationals who wish to reside long-term in India (typically that exceeds more than 180 days) is to visit the FRRO (Foreign Regional Registration Office) within the first 14 days of their arrival in India. It is the FRRO that has the role of regulating their legal stay in India. To that extent, the FRRO manages all the tasks related to foreigners residing in India. This may include issuing residence permits, converting specific kinds of visas, and addressing matters related to visa extensions related to foreigners. In short, FRRO deals with all the legal formalities that need to be completed by the foreigners intending to stay long term.

Bureaucratic processes in India have the reputation of being lengthy and cumbersome and involving long waiting times. Automation and IT are being deployed to ease these concerns but, for expats and the companies that employ them, it pays to stay informed and to understand the FRRO rules well to avoid frustration and hassles.

What is FRRO and what are its registration requirements?

FRRO is the primary agency which deals with the registration, departure, arrival, and movement of foreign nationals who wish to reside long term in India. This applies to foreigners visiting India on a student visa, business visa, employment visa or research visa. The FRRO is also responsible for the grant of extension of stay in India, if required.

The FRRO offices in India have a presence across most major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Cochin, Goa, Calicut, Lucknow. They also function with the District Superintendents of Police located across all other districts. There are 13 FRRO’s and 674 FRO’s in India.

Foreign registration is necessary for all the foreigners arriving in India on a visa which extends to more than 6 months, except for certain exempted categories. Registration is required only once at the time of usage of the visa, irrespective of the times the foreigner exits or arrives again using a multiple entry visa.

The registration requirements at FRRO are as follows:

  • Foreign nationals including those with Indian origin who are visiting India long-term and intend to stay for more than 180 days on a Student Visa, Medical Visa, Business, Employment and Research visa need to register themselves with the FRRO. The requirement is to register within 14 days from the date of arrival at a registered FRRO/FRO office.
  • Foreigners below the age of 16 years(minors) need to report in person or via an authorized representative at the registered FRRO office in a specific location. No registration is required for children under the age of 16 years. *This regulation is applicable in select cities only.
  • Registration may also be required in cases where it is specifically mentioned as- “registration required”

Here are some top FRRO rules to keep in mind for foreigners living long-term in India

  1. Prepare a checklist of all the documents required

You must carry your original passport which contains the visa stamped by the authorized officers, a photocopy of the passport and the original visa, four photographs, and details about your residence in India. A copy of the marriage certificate may be required for those seeking an extension on the grounds of their spouse being an Indian national.

For students a bonafide certificate from the University or Institute may also be required. For employment or business visa, an undertaking from the respective Indian company may have to be produced for FRRO registration. For those involved in joint ventures, a copy of the approval from the Government of India must be provided to the FRRO. In case of an employment visa involving contracts or agreements, a copy of the approval from RBI will be necessary.

  1. Registration officers will provide the Registration Certificate / Residential Permit (RC/RP)

As a foreigner, once you apply for the Registration, the resulting certificate is called the Registration Certificate or Residential Permit. This is most often valid until your visa validity, or 1 year, whichever is shorter. This RC/RP is your valid address in India and can be used to open Bank accounts, Apply AADHAAR Card, Apply PAN Card etc.

  1. Seeking exemption from registration

There are specific categories which may be exempt for registration such as US nationals who are on a 10-year business or tourist visa and their continuous stay does not exceed more than 6 months in India.

-Foreigners with 5 year tourist visas who are engaged in tourism and who visit India frequently for extended periods of time, and whose visa states that, “continuous stay must not exceed more than 6 months”

  1. Restrictions in certain circumstances

If you are a foreigner coming from yellow fever countries, then you may be required to produce a vaccination certificate from a valid medical authority. You are allowed to visit restricted or prohibited areas by securing a valid permit as visa alone may not be adequate to visit these places. For Ex: North East India, Military and Cantonment Areas.

  1. Online services are now available

A new online system has been recently introduced. This enables foreigners to apply online using an e-FRRO application and to then avail of all the services through e-mail or by post, without the need for an in-person appearance at the FRRO. These are currently available only at 13 FRRO’s. This is much simpler as you can gain access to a portfolio of 27 visa and immigration-related services during your stay in India. The e-FRRO scheme has been operating successfully since February 2018, after it was initially launched in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and Mumbai. It has since been introduced in other Indian cities as well.

Like most countries, the government rules and regulations may appear to be complex and cumbersome, but with the right guidance, they can prove to be easier to navigate. Remember that the respective government departments are the final arbitrators of all the laws and rules, but we hope this information helps you as you engage with those authorities.

Lexagent Expat Relocations (www.lexagent.net) has helped thousands of expats, hundreds of Multi-national companies and several Chambers of Commerce and Industry to assist, educate, help with the maze of paperwork and dealing with the FRRO’s and FRO’s all across India. Write to us at info@www.lexagent.net if you want more information on this complex subject.

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