Government restricts rights of Overseas Citizens of India

Newsroom24x7 Network

New Delhi: In order to combat the scourge of those conspiring against India and encouraging violence and divisive forces as demonstrated by vested interest groups abroad, for example the Khalistanis, leading to violence linked with the farmers’ protest on Republic Day, the Union Home Ministry on Thursday issued a gazette notification which restricts many of the rights of the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder (OCI cardholder).

Even as the OCI cardholders will continue to enjoy the right to multiple entry lifelong visa for visiting India for any purpose, for undertaking the following activities, they shall be required to obtain a special permission or a Special Permit, from the competent authority or the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or the Indian Mission concerned, to undertake research; to undertake any Missionary or Tabligh or Mountaineering or Journalistic activities; to undertake internship in any foreign Diplomatic Missions or foreign Government organisations in India or to take up employment in any foreign Diplomatic Missions in India; to visit any place which falls within the Protected or Restricted or prohibited area.

In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 7B of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955) and in supersession of the notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs published in the Official Gazette (number S.O. 542(E), on 11 April, 2005) and the notifications of the Government of India in the erstwhile Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs published in the Official Gazette (numbers S.O. 12(E), 5 January, 2007 and S.O. 36(E), 5 January, 2009), except as respect things done or omitted to be done before such supersession, the Central Government has specified the rights to which an OCI cardholder shall be entitled, with effect from the date of publication of the latest notification in the Official Gazette, namely:─ (1) (2) (3) (4) grant of multiple entry lifelong visa for visiting India for any purpose but this right is not without restriction. Now the OCI cardholder shall be required to obtain a special permission or a Special Permit, as the case may be, from the competent authority or the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or the Indian Mission concerned, to undertake research; to undertake any Missionary or Tabligh or Mountaineering or Journalistic activities; to undertake internship in any foreign Diplomatic Missions or foreign Government organisations in India or to take up employment in any foreign Diplomatic Missions in India; to visit any place which falls within the Protected or Restricted or prohibited areas as notified by the Central Government or competent authority; exemption from registration with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or Foreigners Registration Officer for any length of stay in India: Provided that the OCI cardholders who are normally resident in India shall intimate the jurisdictional Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or the Foreigners Registration Officer by email whenever there is a change in permanent residential address and in their occupation; parity with Indian nationals in the matter of,- (i) (ii) tariffs in air fares in domestic sectors in India; and entry fees to be charged for visiting national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, the national monuments, historical sites and museums in India; parity with Non-Resident Indians in the matter of,- (i) inter-country adoption of Indian children subject to the compliance of the procedure as laid down by the competent authority for such adoption; (ii) appearing for the all India entrance tests such as National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, Joint Entrance Examination (Mains), Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) or such other tests to make them eligible for admission only against any Non-Resident Indian seat or any supernumerary seat: Provided that the OCI cardholder shall not be eligible for admission against any seat reserved exclusively for Indian citizens; (iii) purchase or sale of immovable properties other than agricultural land or farm house or plantation property; and (iv) pursuing the following professions in India as per the provisions contained in the applicable relevant statutes or Acts as the case may be, namely:- (a) (b) (c) (d) doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists; advocates; architects; chartered accountants; in respect of all other economic, financial and educational fields not specified in this notification or the rights and privileges not covered by the notifications made by the Reserve Bank of India under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (42 of 1999), the OCI cardholder shall have the same rights and privileges as a foreigner. Explanation.─ For the purposes of this notification,─ (1) (2) The OCI Cardholder (including a PIO cardholder) is a foreign national holding passport of a foreign country and is not a citizen of India. “Non-Resident Indian” shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in the Foreign Exchange Management (Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property in India) Regulations, 2018 made by the Reserve Bank of India under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (42 of 1999) and who fulfils the “Non-Resident Indian” status as per the Income Tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961).

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