Breather for Chinese workers | india | Hindustan Times
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Breather for Chinese workers

The government has decided to give 25,000 Chinese workers in the country “some more time” beyond the 30 September deadline that required them to seek fresh visas. HT Correspondent reports.

india Updated: Sep 23, 2009 01:39 IST
HT Correspondent

Chinese workers in India will get a breather.

The government has decided to give 25,000 Chinese workers in the country “some more time” beyond the 30 September deadline that required them to seek fresh visas.

A survey of Chinese nationals on business visa in India indicated that a large number of them were semi-skilled workers.

To work in India, they should have applied for an employment visa. But pressure from the Left parties — which supported the first edition of the UPA government — had steamrolled rules to grant business visas in bulk.

To correct the aberration, the Ministry of Home Affairs had given them a three-month deadline to reapply.

“We’re not aware of such an announcement. I believe that the need of the hour is healthy competition and cooperation between the two countries and not a state of constant confrontation,” said D.K Ghosh, chairman and MD, ZTE India. ZTE is a Chinese telecom giant.

With just a week to go for the 30 September deadline and only 3,000 of its nationals sending in applications, the Chinese government stepped in.

China on Tuesday sought more time for its citizens — engaged in power, communication and petroleum sectors — for visa conversion.

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan met Home Secretary G.K. Pillai during the day and asked for more time for its 25,000-strong work force in India.

The import of Chinese workers into India, a hugely labour surplus country, has been a bone of contention between the two sides, with India wanting to restrict it.

“Plumbers, welders and drivers come from China on business visas. We have enough of them. We want them to apply for fresh visas so that we can screen,” said a senior government official, who didn’t wish to be identified.