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Immigration Laws In India - An Overview

Updated: Jan 20

Immigration laws in India is a kind of national Government policy, which has been designed to regulate and control the phenomenon of immigration into the country. Immigration law is one of the Nationality law which governs the legal status of the people, just like the Citizenship. This law varies from the countries and could also be altered according to the current political scenarios. The law mainly consists of the set of rules established by the concerned government of a country for determining who is allowed to enter their country, and for how long. the process for the removal and the detention proceedings of a foreign national who overstays the period allowed to him, or loss of his/her Legal status are dealt under the Immigration law. In India, there is no law as such specific for the Immigration. This section of law can is a compilation of a group of laws and is governed as such. This article gives up a brief idea on the Immigration laws and the policies.

The Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950

This Act deals with the Expulsion of certain Immigrants from Assam. Under This Act, the Central Government has the power to order the expulsion of certain immigrants, If it is of opinion that any person or class of persons, having been ordinarily resident in any place outside India, has or have, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, come into Assam and that the stay of such person or class of persons in Assam is detrimental to the interests of the general public of India or any section thereof or any Schedule Tribe in Assam.

However, these provisions of the Act shall not apply to any person who on account of civil disturbances or the fear of such disturbances in any area now forming part of Pakistan has been displaced from or has left his place of residence in such area and who has been subsequently residing in Assam.

The Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act, 2000

This Act deals with a large number of passengers without any valid travel documents by the carriers in contravention of the Passport Act, 1920. Where any such person who travels towards India in contravention to any of the provisions mentioned in Passport ( Entry into India) Act, 1920, an order will be passed imposing a penalty of rupees one lakh on such carrier subject to the provision that no order shall be passed without giving the carrier an opportunity of being heard in the matter. The Act has been amended to meet the international obligation of exempting any carrier or class from the application of this Act.

Rules and Regulations for the Immigrants

There are a set of Acts which has been passed to regularize the process of availing the citizenship for the foreign Immigrants who wish to be the citizen of India:

  1. The Passport (Entry in India) Act, 1920 – Under this act, the foreigners entering India are required to get a visa from India Missions. The act also prescribes specific documents for submission during their valid travel for allowing into the country.

  2. The Foreigners Act, 1946 – This act regulates the entry and the residence of the foreigners within the Indian borders until they depart from the country.

  3. The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939, and The Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1992 – It mandates that certain foreigners who stay past their specified visa period must register with the Registration Officer.

Recent Amendments in the Immigration Laws.

The Recent Amendments made to the Immigration law can be observed as a welcoming step to those who wish to stay in India. Any visitor who visits India on the Employment Visa has the full liberty to change his/ her employer once they have arrived in India, applying to the Ministry of Home Affairs. A dependent visa or an (X) visa can be converted into an employment visa considering the eligibility of the X visa holder and employment status of the spouse. Similarly, the PIO (People of Indian Origin) and OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cards are merged as of the ordinance passed on January 9th, 2015.


Swathi. Ashok. Nair is currently pursuing Law at the School of Legal Studies, CUSAT, Kerala.

They can be contacted at swathiashoknair555@gmail.com


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