Coming back from India after the winter holidays? You may be offloaded unless you have registered

November 25, 2018

Attention NRIs working in Oman: If you are coming back to the sultanate after a holiday in India, register on the Indian government’s eMigrate portal at least 24 hours in advance. Or else, you will be prevented from leaving India by the immigration department there from January 1, 2019.

While earlier media reports were unclear and suggested that the rule was only for new workers, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has now clarified that the rule applies to all NRIs (ECNR passport holders) including those who may have been working in the GCC region for decades.

MEA has said that any Indian worker who is visiting the country on vacation needs to register on www.emigrate.gov.in as per its advisory issued on November 14. “All ECNR (emigration clearance not required) passport holders travelling to 18 ECR countries on employment visas have to register on the eMigrate portal. This is only required one time for a given employment duration.”

The registration can be done for free at least 24 hours prior to their departure. “Only those on employment visas need to register. The registration confirmation will be verified by the Bureau of Immigration at emigration counters.”

When asked that whether it will affect those who go on vacation, the ministry has said, if the emigrant has already provided the information at the time of initial registration, he/she is not required to register again. “But in case one has not registered at the time of initial departure, he/ she may register at the time of return from vacation.”

To what happens to the ECR category passport holders when they get ECNR passports after working overseas for three years, MEA stated, “They will register like all other ECNR passport holders going for employment to ECR countries and they will not be required to obtain an EC.”

To clarify if employees have to register again though they might have come through the eMigrate route while having an ECR passport and many of them might not be computer literate, the ministry said that if they had registered on the portal, they must have gone through the EC route while holding an ECR passport.

“No registration is required for them unless they replace their passports with an ECNR category one.”

MEA said that the requirement is to register at least 24 hours prior to departure to allow sufficient time for information to be passed on to the emigration counter for verification.

“The objective for this registration is to have the data of Indian emigrants so that they can be reached without delay in case of any eventuality.

“Implementation of this registration is only phase I of the plan so as to ensure that the system works smoothly and there are no hiccups. Once applied, cancellation of registration is not allowed.”