OCI holders now legally banned from practicing journalism or research
Last week’s set of guidelines issued by the Indian government for Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) has been effectively sanctioned legally. According to this OCI are restricted from practicing journalism and research, and also from engaging in Tabligh and missionary activities.
On Friday, the Ministry of Home Affairs said during an informal meeting that the restrictions mentioned are just a “consolidated list” that were already issued in 2005, 2007 and 2009, which are now notified “with more clarifications”.
These restrictions had made their first appearance in OCI brochure dated November 2019. Furthermore, restriction in Tabligh activities too were mentioned as guideline issued for Indian visas in 2018.
According to Thursday’s notification, OCI card holders would be required to take prior permission from authority or FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) “to undertake research; to undertake any Missionary or Tabligh or Mountaineering or Journalistic activities; to undertake internship in any foreign Diplomatic Missions or foreign Government organisations in India or to take up employment in any foreign Diplomatic Missions in India; to visit any place which falls within the Protected or Restricted or prohibited areas as notified by the Central Government or competent authority”.
The rights to OCI holders will include lifelong grant to multiple entry visa for any reason, exempting from FRRO registration for any duration of stay. Furthermore, OCI holders would enjoy parity with NRIs in adoption, taking competitive exams, purchase or sale of immovable property excluding farm and agricultural houses, and pursue professions like medicine, law, architecture and chartered accountancy. These were also mentioned in 2005, 2007 and 2009 notifications.
OCI holders are now allowed to appear in all India entrance tests like National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), Joint Entrance Examination (Mains), Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) or other tests to make them eligible for admission against any NRI or supernumerary seat. The “OCI cardholder shall not be eligible for admission against any seat reserved exclusively for Indian citizens”, notification states.