New rules for employment visas

Vol 13, PW 15 (14 Jan 10) News in Brief

Multinationals in India are facing problems because of newly proposed employment visa rules.

PETROWATCH learns on December 16 the ministry of labour and employment directed Indian missions abroad to reduce the number of visas granted to skilled foreign nationals working on projects and contracts in India. Under the proposal, foreign nationals should comprise no more than 1% of the total workforce working on a project in India.

This is bad news for drilling, seismic and other contractors who employ a large percentage of expat staff. Almost half of Transocean’s workers on its Indian rigs, for example, are foreign.

“We are experiencing manpower problems,â€‌ admits Transocean. “Indian missions in the US and UK have slowed the process of issuing employment visas.

â€‌ Schlumberger says its personnel department is working to restrict the number of foreign nationals working on projects in India. Eni, Cairn India and BG could also face similar problems.