Permits Foundation holds positive talks in India about work authorisation for spouses of intra-corporate transferees30 November 2017
Permits Foundation Directors Katy van der Wilk and Michiel van Campen visited New Delhi recently for talks with the Ministry of Home Affairs and other key stakeholders. The aim of the visit was to discuss the Foundation´s proposal for spouse work authorisation, linked to an intra-corporate transfer visa. As the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju, had already indicated his support in principle at previous meetings, the focus was on discussions with key staff at the Ministry´s Foreigners Division, which is responsible for visa policy development.
The Head of the Foreigners Division confirmed that while considering the proposal positively, recognizing its favourable impact on doing business in India, they wanted to be assured that Indian spouses would be able to work under similar visa arrangements in other countries. They also wanted to have an estimate of the number of intra-corporate transferees in India, accompanied by spouses wanting to work, so that they could be assured that there would be no negative impact on the local labour market.
They welcomed the information we shared on 30 countries that allow spouses of all nationalities, including Indian nationals, to work under a variety of highly skilled visa schemes, as well as estimates of the relatively small numbers involved.
We undertook to provide more detailed information on the visa arrangements for spouses, and any criteria or conditions attached, in countries of most interest. We also reminded to the ministry that similar arrangements were sought for the spouses of staff in international organisations operating in India.
During the visit, Permits Foundation organized a meeting with international companies in India to update them and seek their further support, as well as meetings with an employers’ organization, a member of parliament and the Corps Diplomatique. They all agreed that allowing spouses to work would be a positive step for India to take.
During the visit, the World Bank announced that India had risen 33 places to the 100th position in its ‘ease of doing business’ ranking of countries. For Prime Minister Modi this was important news, which was reported in the national and international press and was something we were able to refer to in our meetings. We will explore with the World Bank whether there is scope to add work authorisation of family members as a factor in its international ease of doing business ranking or investment climate reports.
All in all, it was an informative and useful visit. At the political level, our proposal had already received support in principle from Minister Rijiju. It is now the role of the Ministry of Home Affairs Foreigners Division to examine the proposal in detail.
We will continue to provide data as requested and engage further with relevant stakeholders.