The Government is considering reintroducing a rule that will allow first-time visitors to India to be sent back to their country of origin after their visas expire.
The proposed rule would mean that first-timers travelling to India would not be able to claim benefits in return for returning home, including travel insurance.
It would be implemented through the Integrated Passenger Processing System, or IPPS, a system that was introduced in the last two years.
IPPS is being used to send foreign nationals to India on an international visa, with the exception of those who are citizens of other countries.
First-time visitor visas are currently given to those travelling to the country of their birth and are subject to a number of restrictions, including having to provide a passport and identification.
A government spokesperson told The Indian Express that the proposal is not a departure from India’s history, but would instead be a step in the right direction.
“We are following the trend of our neighbouring countries to bring back first- time travellers from India and introduce the policy in the IPPS.
This will help reduce the number of visas issued to Indian citizens in the first place,” the spokesperson said.
Under the proposal, first–time tourists could still be granted the right to stay in India on their Indian visa if they meet certain criteria.
For example, first time visitors who are from a country where the passport is valid, have a valid identity card and hold a valid tourist visa will be allowed to stay, the spokesperson added.
Second- and third-time visa holders would be allowed the same right to remain in India as visa holders, the same criteria, but those who have been granted a visa on a second or subsequent visit to India will not be given the right.
They will be given priority if they have been in India for at least three years.
“India has been very clear that the IPPs are an important tool to combat corruption in the country.
The government has always stood for India’s sovereignty, security and prosperity.
Therefore, it is unfortunate that such a proposal is being considered as part of the IPPD,” the government spokesperson said, adding that the decision would be taken after consultation with the government departments involved in the visa process.
According to the government, a first-timer can apply for a visa for three months from the date of their arrival in India.
They can apply again at any time, up to six months after their first visit to the state.
For those who do not meet the criteria, a visa can be issued only if they are granted a permanent resident visa, which is issued by the Immigration Department.
India has introduced a number and type of visas in the past.
In February, it imposed restrictions on visas issued for foreigners, including those coming from Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives.
Indian citizens have been issued visas on an almost daily basis for five years.