India visa process impedes foreign investment: Assocham | business | Hindustan Times
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India visa process impedes foreign investment: Assocham

business Updated: Oct 28, 2009 22:29 IST
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India's visa procedures have been an impediment in attracting foreign investors, says a study by industry lobby Assocham.

Assocham conducted a survey among over 100 Indian businessmen who have tie-ups with foreign companies for execution of projects here and 90 percent expressed the view that India has yet to emerge as a "hospitable country".

The industry survey reserved the most blame for Indian missions abroad.

"Officials accountable for issuance of visas in most of Indian missions overseas go on treating visa seekers with a behaviour which is least friendly and often amounts to killing India's prospects of becoming a lead nation for absorption of FDI," Assocham said in a press release on Wednesday.

India has recently cracked down on the number of business visa holders after it found that a large number of Chinese nationals were working in the country illegally after they entered on business visas.

Consequently, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) and the ministry of external affairs have been working to streamline the visa regime process for all countries. Meanwhile, the MHA has instructed all foreign nationals working here on a business visa to leave the country by Oct 31.

The Assocham report said that the sectors most affected are telecommunications, power, oil and gas, and infrastructure sectors by the visa procedures.

"National security is, of course, the prime over-arching concern today. Subject to this singular constraint, India needs to reorient its visa regime around the world and polish its officials concerned in foreign missions, especially in countries which are our focus areas to impart the sense that India is a hospitable country," said the lobby group.

Assocham general secretary DS Rawat has written to Home Minister P Chidambaram that Indian officials usually issue only a six-month single entry visa or delay its issuance. This is despite the fact that a business visa can be given for multiple entries over a period of five years.

"It has also been pointed out that if this matter has to be resolved to match and meet modern-day competitive business requirements, which cause considerable hardships to all concerned, clear instructions - including revised guidelines to all those who deal with this matter in India's missions abroad - need to be formulated and executed," the industry lobby said.