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World
03 Apr 2017

India halts trade pact review after Singapore denies techies visas

Indian IT professionals being denied visas by Singapore

With the spotlight on the US, the issue of Singapore denying visas to Indian IT professionals has been ignored.

This has prompted the Indian government to halt its review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) calling the visa denial a trade pact violation.

Singaporean authorities have advised Indian companies to hire local talent, leading some to consider relocating their operations to neighbouring countries.

In context

Indian IT professionals being denied visas by Singapore

Visas to Indian techies by Singapore drop "to a trickle"

"This (visa problem) has been lingering for a while but since early-2016, visas are down to a trickle. All Indian companies have received communication on fair consideration, which basically means hiring local people," NASSCOM president R Chandrashekhar said.

Singapore's compliance regime dissuades hiring of foreign professionals

Details

Singapore's compliance regime dissuades hiring of foreign professionals

Several Indian companies, including HCL, TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant and L&T Infotech have set up operations in Singapore.

Singaporean authorities have insisted that they conduct an "economic needs test" (ENT), requiring them to meet some economic criteria.

This is aimed at dissuading Indian companies from hiring Indian professionals.

Singapore has in recent times emerged as an opponent of allowing foreign talent into its territory.

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Why India has halted the review of bilateral trade pact

An Indian official said the bilateral "CECA clearly stating that there will be no ENT or quotas on agreed services." Singapore's ENT is a violation of the agreement. India has hence decided against expanding the scope of goods for which import duties would be cut.

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