China's commerce ministry has voiced concern over New Delhi's reported insistence that only those with employment visa can work in India, a move a newspaper said had hurt Chinese workers badly.
China Daily reported that the government had received several complaints from Chinese companies in India.
"We hope India will be considerate of the circumstances of Chinese firms there and provide more convenience for Chinese labourers and firms," an official was quoted as saying.
The foreign ministry on Monday also warned Chinese citizens heading to work in India to acquire employment visas first.
"Citizens can't be engaged in works that doesn't match with their visa category," said a notice posted on the ministry's website.
China Daily said that the India visa policy, issued in mid-July, mainly affected expatriates working in India on business visa.
Jiang, a manager with Huaxia Outbound Labour Service in Jiangsu province, where the largest number of workers go abroad for work, told the daily that about 20 native workers to India were on their way back.
"We are confident of their skills, but they had to return as they were not able to get a visa," he said.
Pan Xiaoyong, a technician with Huawei Technologies, a major Chinese telecommunications equipment supplier based in Shenzhen, said the firm was currently staging an urgent hunt for technicians holding India business visas to fill up the vacancies created by the new visa policy.
Chinese businesses in South Asia generated $18 billion in 2008, mostly in India, according to Chinese experts.
Hu Shisheng, scholar on South Asia Studies from China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said the financial crisis that affected India's labour-intensive industries was what compelled New Delhi to tighten its labour policy.
"India has a huge population of young illiterates. They can depend on nothing but their labour to earn a living. So it's conceivable that the Indian government would want to protect its own labour force," Hu was quoted as saying.
Those who fail to meet the government's new criteria for the business visa had a deadline of Oct 31 to leave the country.
Many Chinese workers in India hold six-month visas called "Multiple Entry Business Visa".
About 25,000 Chinese workers in sectors such as power generation, communication and petroleum in India will be affected by the clampdown. Under the amended rules, foreign clerical, secretarial and unskilled workers will not be given work visas in India.