ECNR registration requirement postponed until further notice

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In an apparent U-turn, the government of India has decided to temporarily halt the mandatory online registration of ECNR passport holders with job visas in 18 countries.

The decision was conveyed by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) through a notice posted on the portal, www.emigrate.gov.in Wednesday.

On November 14, the Indian ministry announced that starting January 1, 2019, all Indian nationals holding an employment visa in all the 18 ECR countries should register on the eMigrate portal.

In its notice Wednesday, the MEA said the advisory has now been put in abeyance.
“With reference to the Ministry of External Affairs advisory dated 14th November, 2018 on the above subject, it is informed that the ministry has been receiving representations from various quarters, including non-ECR passport holders already employed in ECR countries, regarding difficulties faced by them in registration at www.emigrate.gov.in,” according to the notice issued by M C Luther, joint secretary and protector-general of emigrants.

“The Indian missions in those countries have also forwarded representations received by them from the local Indian community,” the notice continued.

“In view of the above, the competent authority has decided to keep this advisory, regarding registration of non-ECR passport holders, in abeyance until further orders.”

The full notice can be viewed here.

However, if any such emigrant wants to register voluntarily as earlier, he/she can do so, the notice adds.

In the earlier advisory, the MEA said the registration for ECNR passport holders travelling to 18 ECR countries for employment had to be completed at www.emigrate.gov.in at least 24 hours before departure. Those who failed to register would not be allowed to travel to these countries starting January 1, it added.

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The decision was taken to “provide protection and welfare to Indian emigrants abroad”, the advisory said. “Off-loading of unregistered non-ECR emigrants at the airports would be effected by the appropriate authority after January 1, 2019,” it added, noting that there was no change in existing procedures for all other visa categories.

However, expatriates said there was some confusion and the advisory had not addressed a number of issues. The MEA later issued a list of FAQs providing clarifications.

Published on 28 November 2018

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