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Practice Pointers when applying for visas for Germany, France and The Netherlands

The Schengen area which comprises of 26 states, facilitates borderless travel for tourist and business activities for non-EU nationals. The visa holder can freely enter, travel and exit the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries.

Countries within the Schengen Zone include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Consular Services in India for Germany, France and The Netherlands.

Indian citizens applying for a German, French or Dutch visa must file their visa application with the visa section of the Embassy/Consular Posts or with the respective VFS centers across India. Before applying for a visa, the applicant must first determine the purpose and duration of his or her visit. The visit can either be for a duration lesser than 90 days or for a period exceeding 90 days.

Short-Stay Visa

An applicant who wishes to travel to the Schengen area for study, medical reasons, tourism, business, visiting family or friends, official visit, etc. for a period lesser than or equal to 90 days must apply for a Short-Stay Visa.

In order to apply for a short-stay “C” visa, the applicant must complete the required visa application form, collate all the required documents which includes passport, photographs, documents evidencing his or her socio-economic ties to the home country and financial capability to bear the expense of the trip and proof of travel arrangements. The applicant is required to submit photocopies of these documents. However, the first-time visitors are always granted a single-entry visa even though multiple is requested.

An appointment needs to be scheduled with the nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC). If the applicant intends to visit only one Schengen country, then he or she must submit the application at the respective country’s VAC. If he or she intends to visit multiple countries within the Schengen zone and wishes to spend same duration everywhere, then the application must be submitted at the VAC of the member state where he or she intends to arrive first. If the applicant intends to visit more than one Schengen country, the application must be submitted at the VAC of that member state in which the applicant wishes to spend the longest duration.

On the day of the appointment, he or she must submit the application, pay the visa fee in cash or demand draft, debit or credit card and have the biometrics data taken (i.e. photo and fingerprints).

The VAC officer upon receiving the application packet, forwards the documents with the applicant’s passport to the Consulate or the Embassy for further processing. It is important to note that the visa application may be refused if any requested document is not included. While the visa application is under processing, the applicant is provided with information updates about his or her application from the VAC. However, the VAC is not allowed to inform the applicant whether the application is accepted or rejected. Upon adjudication of the application, the applicant is asked to collect the passport from the nearest VAC, or it is couriered to the applicant if he or she opted for courier facility provided by the VAC.

With respect to short-stay visa processing, the application must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the planned visit; and cannot be submitted more than three months prior to the planned visit. The overall processing time taken to issue a Short-Stay “C” Visa is 15 working days.

Applicants must note that they are allowed to stay a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period in the Schengen area on a short stay Schengen visa.

Long-Stay Visa

An applicant who wishes to stay in the Schengen area for a period exceeding 90 days must apply for a Long-Stay “D” Visa. The duration of a Long-Stay Visa can be between three months to a year.

Most Long-Stay “D” visa applications require the applicant to submit a copy of the temporary residence permit or authorization received from the Immigration Authorities in the particular Schengen country. The consular process remains more or less the same as the short stay visa. The applicant upon collating the required documents based on the applicant’s circumstances, must schedule an appointment with the nearest VAC. For the appointment, the applicant must carry all the necessary documents and should pay the required visa fees by cash, demand draft, debit or credit card.

If the applicant has submitted a copy of the required approval, authorisation or temporary residence permit along with the application, the visa will most probably be granted within 15 working days. If a copy of the pre-approval was not submitted with the application, then the visa issuance can take anywhere between one and three months.

By Pradnya Sawant

Repatriation – Best Practices

Most foreign nationals on an employment visa to India need to complete post arrival registration formalities at the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) of relevant jurisdiction. The Indian entity that sponsors the visa is required to give an undertaking to the FRRO/FRO on behalf of the foreign national “to ensure good conduct of the foreign national during his or her stay in India.”

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) published a notification making it mandatory for employers to report the termination and/or departure of all foreign nationals working in India[1].

During the course of employment, in case the employer wishes to withdraw the “undertaking for good conduct,” the employer must visit the FRRO/FRO in person along with the foreign national to report and record the withdrawal.  This is likely to happen when an employee has been found to violate a law.

Repatriation formalities must be completed once the foreign national has departed India and does not intend to return to India on the current visa. This formality must be completed at the FRRO/FRO where the foreign national completed his or her in-country registration formalities. It is mandatory to inform the concerned government office about the termination of such a foreign national’s assignment in India to cancel any liability that the Indian employer would have assumed for the foreign national at the time of registration/subsequent visa extension (if any).

Each FRRO/FRO operates in a different manner regarding the repatriation formalities. For instance, at the Bengaluru FRRO, once all the relevant documents have been submitted, the officer will acknowledge/stamp the letter notifying departure of the foreign national as proof that repatriation formalities have been duly completed. However, the FRO in Pune and the FRRO in Chennai are extremely particular about the tax related documents. Once the documents have been submitted, the office will not issue a confirmation letter stating that the repatriation formalities for the foreign national have been complete nor acknowledge the letter notifying departure of the foreign national from the Indian visa sponsoring entity.  Once the FRRO/FRO has been intimated of the foreign national’s final departure, the Undertaking of the employer stands cancelled.

In addition, all foreign nationals leaving India must go through an immigration process at the airport where an official will check the foreign national’s passport and visa.  If the foreign national is departing from India and does not intend to return on the current employment visa, he/she must relinquish the Residential Certificate/Residence Permit (certificate issued by the FRRO/FRO when the applicant registered upon arrival in India) to the immigration officer at the airport.  If questioned about the relinquishment, the foreign national should clearly state that there is no intent to return to India on that visa and hence the Residential Certificate/Residence Permit is being turned in.

Sandhya Maggidi


[1]https://boi.gov.in/sites/default/files/ForeigD-FRRO_version223.6.11.pdf  (accessed on December 23, 2019)

Enforcement of 2014 Rule Affects Intra-Company Transfers to Serbia

Serbia’s Law on Employment of Foreigners enacted in 2014 laid down a provision in Article 19 which stated that foreign national employees of a company located outside Serbia assigned to work at an affiliated local company in Serbia are initially limited to a maximum of one year. The assignment, and the corresponding intra-company transfer (ICT) work permit, would be allowed extension for a further period of one year – only if the foreign national employee’s country of nationality would have an existing social security agreement with Serbia. If no social security agreement exists with the employee’s country of nationality, and should the Serbian entity desire to extend the period of the employee’s assignment in Serbia, the employee must be placed on its local payroll – which may subject them to Serbian taxes and duties not otherwise applicable to ICTs. This provision certainly has the potential to make ICT assignments to Serbia a somewhat complicated muddle of immigration, tax, and employment law.

However, since Law on Employment of Foreigners’ enactment in 2014, Serbia’s National Labor Agency (NLA) had apparently shelved the rule and had taken no action towards implementing it – until recently. It seems like the NLA has now begun enforcing the one-year maximum on ICT work permits and is granting only a single one-year extension if the foreign national employee is from one of the eligible nations. After the initial one year (or two-years if an extension is granted) – the employee must either be placed on local payroll or exit Serbia. 

A list of the 28 nations who have bilateral agreements on social security with Serbia, along with the texts of the agreements, is set out below:

AustriaLuxembourg
BelgiumHungary
Bosnia and HerzegovinaMacedonia
BulgariaGermany
MontenegroNorway
Czech RepublicPanama
DenmarkPoland
FranceRomania
NetherlandsSlovakia
CroatiaSlovenia
ItalySweden
CanadaSwitzerland
CyprusGreat Britain
LibyaTurkey

The crux of this matter is that ICT assignments to Serbia have now become significantly complex and may require consultation with both immigration and tax specialists in their planning. 

Several European Union (EU) nations are likely to adopt the EU Intra-Company Transfer Directives which will bring about a consistency in the ICT scheme across the EU nations thereby eliminating these challenging variations. As of date, fourteen EU nations have either adopted the ICT Directive or are in the process of doing so. Unfortunately, the EU adopting the ICT Directive holds the slightest probability for improving the ICT process in Serbia anytime soon. This is because, Serbia’s application for becoming a part of the the EU remains in the negotiation phase, and it is estimated that Serbia’s admission to the EU will be no sooner than 2020, if then.

Manizeh Mistry, Deputy Head – Global Immigration

Canadian Government Opening Pathways for Highly Specialized Global Talent

The Canadian Government has opened the doors to the highly skilled, specialized, in-demand foreign nationals who will help in the growth of Canadian entities’ businesses by bringing the Global Skills Strategy into effect on June 12, 2017. This new strategy aims at attracting foreign investment and bringing foreign skilled talent with lesser provisions and barriers into Canada.

The Government has fostered two ways to ensure faster and timely entry of foreign skilled workers for short-term work positions and for foreign talent required by Canadian firms who wish to scale-up their highly-skilled workforce with global talent. 

(1)  Short Duration Work Permit Exemptions: Foreign skilled workers coming to Canada for less than 30 days are now exempt from the requirement of obtaining a work permit. Previously, if any foreign worker entered the Canadian labour market, even for one day, they required work authorization. Now, if a foreign worker is coming to perform work for 30 days or less and their occupation is classified as “highly skilled” or “managerial”, they are eligible to work without a work permit. 

Researchers are also eligible for this work permit exemption for 120 days if they are coming to work at a publicly funded, degree-granting institution at the college or university level. Researchers who play a significant role or add value to a research project and who can demonstrate academic excellence or expertise in a field related to the position are eligible for this work permit exemption. 

(2)  Global Talent Stream: This stream offers expedited access to unique, specialized and highly-skilled temporary foreign workers. It is intended for innovative, high-potential, high-growth firms to scale-up and grow.  It is also meant for Canadian firms seeking to hire highly skilled foreign workers for in-demand occupations. This program is broken down into two streams: (1) Category A which is for innovative, high-growth, high-potential firms who wish to hire unique and specialized talent and (2) Category B which is for Canadian businesses that are seeking to hire highly-skilled foreign workers to fill the occupations listed on the Global Talent Occupations List.

Both Category A and Category B firms will be required to work with the Department of Employment and Social Development to develop a Labour Market Benefits Plan that demonstrates their commitment to activities that will track overall job creation, skills and training investments, and provides a benefit to the Canadian economy through the employment of the highly-skilled global talent. 

Unlike the existing labour market assessment process, there will be no recruitment requirement and the assessment of the application will be based on the benefit to the Canadian labour market rather than the availability of local Canadian workers for the position. 

Manizeh Mistry, Deputy Head – Global Immigration