1,800 Chinese nationals apply for change in visa status

New Delhi: The government has received around 1,800 applications from Chinese workers, engaged in different projects in India, to change their visa status -- from business to employment.

Home Ministry sources said the applications have come following the government's directive to around 25,000 Chinese nationals working in different projects across India to convert their visas from business to employment.

"We have received around 1,800 applications. We are verifying them for clearance. Rest of the Chinese nationals will go back home," a Home Ministry official said.

Home Minister P Chidambaram had said last week that India would issue employment visas only to highly skilled workers and it does not apply only to Chinese workers but to other countries as well.

"Chinese companies engaged in different projects also have decided to hire local workers which would solve their visa problems," the official said.

The Chinese nationals have been given time till October 31 to change their visas from business to employment.

The decision came after China's Ambassador to India Zhang Yan met Home Secretary G K Pillai requesting him to extend the September 30 deadline given to Chinese citizens to change their visa status.

Around 25,000 Chinese are working in various power, communication and petroleum sector projects across the country. The Indian missions in China have issued 1,60,190 business visas from 2007 to June 30, 2009.

Bureau Report