India eases travel restrictions for foreign businessmen, technicians as it begins phased lockdown exit
NEW DELHI, NNA - India on Wednesday relaxed visa and travel restrictions for certain categories of foreign nationals including businessmen, technicians and healthcare professionals to allow them to come to the country as it starts gradual exit from the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, foreign businessmen coming to India on a business visa in non-scheduled commercial or chartered flights, and specialists in areas such as engineering, managerial and design traveling to India on behalf of foreign business entities located in India, will be allowed to enter the country.
The foreign business entities, the ministry said, include all manufacturing, design, software and information technology units as well as financial sector companies.
Also, foreign technical specialists and engineers traveling for installation, repair and maintenance of foreign-origin machinery and equipment facilities in India, on the invitation of a registered Indian business entity, have also been allowed to travel to the country.
The other category of foreign nationals allowed to enter the country includes healthcare professionals, health researchers, engineers and technicians for technical work at Indian health sector facilities, including laboratories and factories.
“This is subject to a letter of invitation from a recognized and registered healthcare facility, registered pharmaceutical company or accredited University in India,” the ministry said in a statement.
These foreign nationals, however, would require a fresh business visa or employment visa, as applicable, to travel to India.
“Foreign nationals holding a valid long-term multiple entry business visa (other than B-3 visa for sports) issued by the Indian Missions/ Posts abroad would have to get the business visa re-validated,” the ministry said.
The move to allow certain categories of foreign nationals to travel to India comes after the government announced last week its plan to gradually restart almost “all activities” in non-hotspot areas from June 8, while continuing the nationwide lockdown in Covid-19 hotspots till June 30.
The country has also permitted its domestic airlines resume flights in a “calibrated manner” after grounding them for two months.
India imposed nationwide lockdown restrictions on March 25. Since late April, the government has been gradually easing the lockdown restrictions to allow some of the businesses to resume their activities amid the growing number of Covid-19 positive cases which has now crossed 200,000 including over 5800 deaths as of Wednesday evening.