NRI Worldwide > NRIssues
India challenges US immigration rules at WTO
Report dated 11/04/2012 @ 7:34 PM
India has launched a complaint at the level of the World Trade Organisation's so-called 'consultations' saying the cost of US work visas are too high and discriminate against a group of Indian IT firms. The 'consultations' level between the two parties is the last step to resolve a disagreement before entering a full-fledged legal dispute.
India's complaint is about a US law from 2010 that almost doubled visa fees for skilled workers to $4,500 per applicant. The sponsor of the Bill said at the time that the move was aimed at a small group of companies exploiting US law to import workers from abroad.
It is unclear when the complaint was taken to the WTO but Trade Minister Anand Sharma raised the visa issue with US Commerce Secretary John Bryson on a visit to India on March 26.
Last month the US began the same form of action at the WTO to open India's market for poultry and eggs, saying an Indian ban on US imports intended to stop the spread of bird flu was not based on sound science.
India/UAE agree on employee contract protocol
Report dated 05/04/2012 @ 6:15 PM
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and Minister of Labour of the United Arab Emirates Saqr Ghobash, have signed a protocol that says Indians seeking to migrate to the UAE for employment can now expect an assured salary package and better work environment but must now have work contracts endorsed by the Indian authorities, in order to streamline the employment process through an electronic contact registration and validation system.
Contract terms and conditions will also have to be signed by workers and employers and must be registered with the UAE's Ministry of Labour.
The new system heralds a joint endeavour by the UAE and India to ensure the welfare of workers.
The UAE has been a favourite destination for employment for skilled and un-skilled Indian workers whose number has grown to approximately 1.7 million in the country.
NRI pension fund from May 1
Report dated 05/04/2012 @ 6:11 PM
The Minister for Overseas Affairs announced that the Ministry of Finance has approved the Bill and pensions for NRIs will be instituted from May 1, 2012. Speaking during a visit to Dubai, Minister Vayalar Ravi assured the NRI community that he is trying to launch the Pension and Life Insurance Fund (Plif) on May Day.
The government has promised to contribute almost 50 percent of the amount that NRIs contribute towards their pension fund in the case of men, and almost double the amount in the case of women.
The minister also said the government will soon introduce a law in Parliament establishing an Immigration Regulatory Authority to streamline the documentation process to ensure that workers travelling to the Gulf states are not subjected to exploitation.
NRIs can also look forward to another pension plan by Dubai for expatriates, that could materialise by the end of the year.
India and the UAE also signed another agreement that will help regulate migrant workers' employment in the country.
NRIs will have to account for unexplained funds when they return
Report dated 21/03/2012 @ 10:12 PM
The Indian government announced that the Income Tax Department will 'bother' those NRIs who have unexplained funds.
Speaking at an interactive session with Ficci members in Delhi, the CBDT Chairman Laxman Das and Finance Secretary R S Gujral who chaired the session, said there is no intent that NRIs should not return or not bring their assets to the country. Citing an example Gujral said if a person worked as a clerk abroad and returns after two years with $1 billion, the person will have to explain the wealth.
Also, the government plans to make it a compulsory reporting requirement in case of assets held abroad for 16 years, rather than the existing 6 year stipulation.
Analysts say the move will create unnecessary reporting requirements and hassles for NRIs who return to India after a long stay abroad.
Direct Tax Code deferment comes as a relief for NRIs
Report dated 18/03/2012 @ 1:36 PM
The Indian government's deferment of the Direct Tax Code (DTC) restricting the stay of NRIs, is largely seen by NRIs as a huge relief.
The revised DTC code that would change the basic definition of NRIs for tax purposes was scheduled to take effect on April 1. Now however the finance minister said the government will work towards its implementation, but he did not specify a time frame or amendments to the original DTC proposal against which a number of NRI representations were made.
Prominent NRIs welcomed the boost to the infrastructure sector but said high import duties on gold could end in a surge in smuggling.
The increase in the customs duty exemptions on baggage allowance to Rs.35,000 is also seen as a welcome move.
Other than these two significant measures, the new budget did not have anything that overtly benefits NRIs.