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FAQ Immigration

1.What is emigration?

“Emigrate” and “Emigration” means the departure out of India of any person with a view to taking up any Employment (whether or not under an agreement or other arrangements to take up such employment and whether with or without the assistance of a registered Recruiting Agent (RA) or Employer) in any country or place outside India.

(Refer Definitions under section (2) (f) of chapter I of the Emigration Act, 1983).

2. What is employment (in the context of employment abroad under Emigration Act 1983)

“Employment” means any service, Occupation or engagement (not being service, Occupation or engagement under the central government or a state government), in any kind of work within the meaning of clause (0) (definitions under section (2) (0) of chapter I of the Emigration Act, 1983), for wages or for reward and all its grammatical variation and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.
Under clause (0) “work means

  • Any unskilled work, including any form of industrial or agriculture labour;
  • Any domestic service;
  • Any service, not being a service in a managerial capacity, in any hotel, restaurant, tea-house or other place of public resort;
  • Work as a driver of a truck or other vehicle, mechanic, technician or skilled labourer or artisan;
  • Work as an office assistant or accountant or typist or stenographer or salesman, or nurse or operator of any machine;
  • Work in connection with, or for the purpose of, any cinema, exhibition or entertainment; and

Any such work of a professional or of any other nature as the central government may, having regard to the need for the protection of citizens of India who may be employed in such work outside India and other relevant circumstances, specify by notification.

3. What is ‘Emigration clearance’?

‘Emigration clearance (EC) is a kind of legal authorization for ‘emigration’ obtained in the prescribed manner and form from the Protector of Emigrants (POE). Emigration clearance is issued under provisions of Sec 22(1) of the Emigration Act 1983. This authorization is currently issued in the form of a ‘security sticker’ duly signed by the POE and gets pasted on the Passport of the emigrant who requires Emigration clearance. A sample ‘EC’ sticker is given below:

4. Who requires Emigration Clearance?

All Indian citizens whose Passport has been categorized as “Emigration Check Required”(ECR) are required to obtain Emigration clearance(EC) from the POE’s before proceeding to specified “ECR Countries” for the purpose of Employment. As of now the Passports of all those persons whose educational qualification is below matric are categorized as ECR Passports. An endorsement (ECR seal/stamp/remark) to this effect is provided either in the second page or in the last page of the Passport (as given in Pictures below) by the Passport authorities at the time of issue of Passports.

5. What is ECNR? Who are the persons exempted from ‘Emigration Clearance?’/ List of persons/categories of workers who do not require ‘Emigration Clearance’/ List of persons in whose case’ Emigration check is not required’(ECNR)/Eligible for ECNR Passport.

‘ECNR’ denotes “Emigration Check Not Required”.  All those persons whose Passports do not bear endorsement of ECR seal/stamp/remarks are all exempted from obtaining ‘Emigration Clearance’ from the POE.  The following is the list of persons who do not require “Emigration Clearance” or the persons eligible for ‘ECNR’ Passport:

  • All holders of Diplomatic/Official Passports.
  • All gazette Government Servants.
  • All income-tax payers (including Agriculture Income Tax Payees) in their individual capacity.
  • All professional degree holders, such as Doctors holding MBBS degrees or Degrees in Ayurved or Homoeopathy; Accredited Journalists; Engineers; Chartered Accountants; Lecturers; Teachers; Scientists; Advocated etc.
  • Spouses and dependent children of category of persons listed form (2) to (4).
  • Persons holding class 10 or higher qualification.
  • Seamen who are in possession of CDC or Sea Cadets, Desk Cadets (i) who have passed final examination of three year B.SC Nautical Science Courses at T.S. Chanakya, Mumbai; and (ii) who have undergone three months Pre-sea training at any of the Government approved Training institutes such as T. S. Chanakya, T. S. Rehman, T. S. Jawahar, MTI (SCI) and NIPM, Chennai after production of identity cards issued by the Shipping Master, Mumbai/Calcutta/Chennai.
  • Persons holding permanent immigration Visas, such as the visas of UK, USA and Australia.
  • Persons possessing two years diploma from any institute recognized by the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) or State Council of Vocational Training (SCVT) or persons holding three years diploma/equivalent degree from institutions like Polytechnics recognized by Central/State Governments.
  • Nurses possessing qualification recognized under the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947.
  • All persons above the age of 50 years.
  • All persons who have been staying abroad for more than three years (the period of three years could be either in one stretch or broken) and their spouses.

Children below 18 years of age.

6. What are ‘ECR Countries’? List of countries for which ‘Emigration Clearance’ is mandatory.

"Emigration Check required" (ECR) countries are those countries which are currently specified as ‘ECR’ by the Government of India. It is mandatory for all persons holding ECR Passports to obtain ‘Emigration Clearance’ (EC) from the ‘POE’ before proceeding on employment to any of these ‘ECR’ countries. List of 17 ECR countries is as below:

  1. United Arab Emirates(UAE)
  2. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia(KSA)
  3. Qatar
  4. Sultanate of Oman
  5. Kuwait
  6. Bahrain
  7. Libya
  8. Jordan
  9. Yemen
  10. Sudan
  11. Syria
  12. Lebanon
  13. Afghanistan
  14. Malaysia
  15. Thailand
  16. Indonesia
  17. Iraq

8. When ‘Emigration Clearance’ is required?

‘Emigration Clearance’ is mandatory only when an ‘ECR’ Passport holder is proceeding on ‘Employment’ to any of the specified ‘ECR’/”Emigration Check Required” countries.

9. When “Emigration Clearance is Not Required”?

‘Emigration Clearance’ is not at all required in all the following cases/circumstances:

  • All ‘ECNR’ Passport holders do not require “Emigration Clearance” for travelling to any country irrespective of the category of the country and irrespective of the purpose of travel. 
  • All ‘ECR’ Passport holders when travelling to any of the ‘ECNR’ country do not require ‘Emigration Clearance’ irrespective of the purpose of travel.
  • All ‘ECR’ Passport holders when travelling to any of the 17 specified ‘ECR’ countries for purposes “other than employment” like tour visit/business visit/family visit etc. do not require emigration clearance.  However, they should carry a valid two-way return air ticket as a form of assurance of their return to India before the expiry of the Visa period. Further they may be required to carry a letter from the sponsor of their visit and other documents as may be specified by the Immigration authorities at the Immigration check counters at all International airports in India; and
  • All pilgrims going for Haj and Umrah to Saudi Arabia and those Pilgrims travelling with the declared purpose of performing Ziarat to Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and Yeman do not require emigration clearance irrespective of their Passport category.

10. How to obtain “Emigration Clearance” from the POE? What is the procedure for obtaining ‘Emigration Clearance’?

  • ‘Emigration clearance’ can be obtained from the POE’s either as ‘Individuals’ directly or through a Registered Recruiting Agent (RA) as part of bulk recruitment done by him, by applying to the POEs in the manner and form prescribed for the purpose.
  • Currently, to obtain ‘Emigration Clearance’ the application has to be ‘filed online’ under the appropriate category (individual/RA) in the Ministry’s Website viz. www.poeonline.gov.in (screenshot)
  • On successful filing of the application a token number and the date of appearance before the POE, is assigned on-line to each candidate individually in the website.  A print-out of the token number assigned (screenshot) has to be taken and presented to POE with all other documents as prescribed for obtaining “Emigration Clearance”.
  • After scrutiny of the documents presented and on the complete satisfaction of the requirements, ‘Emigration Clearance’ is granted by the POE on the same day on which the application is filed.

11. What are the “documents” required for obtaining “Emigration Clearance”?

Documents Required for Semi-Skilled workers (Individuals):
Semi-skilled individuals who seek emigration clearance directly from the Protectors of Emigrants (and not through Recruiting Agents) are required to produce the following documents in original for scrutiny and return:

  • Passport valid for a minimum period of six months with valid visa.
  • Employment Contract from foreign employer duly attested by the Indian mission of that country..
  • Challan towards deposit of prescribed fee.
  • Insurance policy – Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana(obtained for the period of the contract.)

Documents Required for Unskilled Workers (individuals)
Unskilled workers and women (not below 30 years of age) seeking employment abroad as housemaids/domestic workers shall furnish in original the following documents at the time of obtaining emigration clearance:

  • Passport valid or a minimum period of six months with valid Visa.
  • Employment contract from the foreign employer duly attested by the Indian Mission or Permission letter from the concerned Indian Mission/Post.
  • Challan towards deposit of prescribed fee.
  • Insurance policy PBBY obtained for the period of contract.

Documents required for skilled/semi-skilled workers (Through Recruiting Agents)
Recruiting agents who seek emigration clearance for skilled/semiskilled workers are required to produce:

  • Passport of the worker valid for a minimum period of 6 months with valid visa.
  • Original Employment contract, demand letter and power of Attorney from the foreign employer.
  • Challan towards deposit of prescribed fee.
  • Insurance Policy-Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana obtained for the period of contract.

Documents required for unskilled workers(Through Recruiting Agents)
In addition to the requirements for Skilled/semiskilled workers, all employment documents mentioned in (ii) above have to be duly attested by the Indian Mission.

The Protector of Emigrants, after satisfying himself about the accuracy of the particulars mentioned in the application and in the other documents submitted along with the application, grants emigration clearance in the prescribed manner and form.  In case there is any deficiency, the POE intimates the same by an order in writing to the applicant or, as the case may be, the Recruiting Agent or employer, through whom the applications have been made.

12. Grounds on which, POE can reject an application for ‘Emigration Clearance.

Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the Protector of Emigrants may reject an application for emigration clearance on any one or more of the following grounds:

  •  that the terms and conditions of employment which the applicant proposes to take up are discriminatory or exploitative;
  • that the employment which the applicant proposes to take up involves work of a nature which is unlawful according to the laws of India or offends against the public policy of India or is violative of norms of human dignity and decency;
  • that the applicant will have to work or live in sub-standard working or living conditions;
  • that having regard to the prevailing circumstances in the country or place where the applicant proposes to take up employment or the antecedents of the employer under whom the applicant proposes to take up employment or any other relevant circumstances, it would not be in the interest of the applicant to emigrate;
  • that no provision or arrangement has been made for meeting the expenses which may be incurred in case it becomes necessary to arrange for the repatriation  to India of the applicant, or that the provisions or arrangements made in this behalf are not adequate for the purpose.

13. What is “Emigration Check Required Suspension” (ECRS)? / What is ECRS? / Whether ECRS is still in vogue?

Previously, the categories of persons whose passports have been endorsed as “Emigration Check Required”, if intending to travel abroad for purposes other than employment were required to obtain “Suspension” from the requirement of obtaining emigration clearance from the POE.  However, with effect from 1st October, 2007 the requirement of obtaining ‘suspension’ has been done away with for the ECR passport holders going abroad for purpose other than employment. Hence, issuing of ‘ECRS’ is no more in practice in POE’s office.

(Refers: Government of India order no……………………… dated………………………..

14. List of Countries for which ‘Emigration Clearance’ is banned/suspended temporarily until further orders of Government of India.

  • Under ‘banned’ category:
    • NIL
  • Under temporary suspension category
    • Libya

15. Restrictions on Emigration clearance to certain categories of people:

Government of India has imposed the following age restriction for intending emigrants:

  • For women (ECR passport holders):

                Women ECR passport holders should have completed at least 30 years age on the date of applying for Emigration clearance.

  • For men (ECR passport holder)

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