Expert committee on Non-Resident Indian (NRI) marriages and disputes

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) under the leadership of Sushma Swaraj has set up an expert committee on Non-Resident Indian (NRI) marriages and disputes arising therein.

The Committee includes Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Swati Jaihind along with representatives from the MEA, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Women and Child Development (WCD) and other experts.

The Committee has been mandated to identify legal and regulatory challenges faced by Indian nationals on this pertinent issue and suggest amendments in existing legislations as well as new laws and policies to better resolve the disputes concerning NRI marriages.

The Committee is slated to submit its report by August.

DCW on its part has given certain recommendations and suggestions to the Committee to combat the issues relating to NRI marriages. Further, in order to propose effective and actionable recommendations to the Committee, the Delhi Commission for Women has requested the Committee to seek certain information from MEA and MHA.

The Commission has also decided to seek suggestions from public and experts in the matter, so as to expand its knowledge base as well as learn from field experiences. The Delhi Commission for Women is contacting certain NGOs to seek their opinion in the matter.

The DCW chief has also written to NRI Commission of Punjab, Kerala and Goa to seek data about number of cases arising in their states as well as their views on the matter. Similarly, she has written to chairpersons of women commissions across the country seeking their views on the matter.

The Commission has released a special email ID nri.dcw@gmail.com for people (especially NRIs, experts, NGOs) to share their suggestions on the issue.

The last date for submission is 23 July 2017 till 11 a.m.

Recent questions by Indian lawmakers on the topic include:

  • QUESTION NO.†*450 MARITAL DISPUTES OF NRIs (link) – The Ministry has received 2485 complaints about NRI marital disputes during the last three years and until 30 March 2017.
  • QUESTION NO.1609 INDIAN WOMEN DEFRAUDED BY NRI SPOUSES (link) – The Ministry has been receiving petitions from Indian women stating that their overseas Indian spouse has hidden the fact that he is already married or has a partner. Their petitions pertain to abandonment of the Indian woman by overseas Indian spouse either in India or in the foreign country after marriage. When the overseas Indian husband is summoned to attend court proceedings in India, Indian Missions/Posts have no means for enforcing the order abroad, except when the foreign country accepts the request for mutual legal assistance.

 




Recent stories on the topic include:

Man posing as NRI groom dupes South Mumbai woman of lakhs – The accused, whom the 30-year-old Nagpada-based woman had met on a matrimonial site, introduced himself as an NRI from England cheated her out of Rs 4.19 lakh

SoPs for NRI matrimonial disputes – The Hindu – There have been complaints of frauds, abandonment, domestic violence, extra-marital relationships, ex-parte divorce, being duped of money after promising marriage, forceful/illegal retention of children’s custody, non-maintenance of maintenance etc., from the aggrieved women, Ms.Venkataratnam who left for Delhi said. sThe Ministry of Women and Child Development realising the need, decided to frame Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) providing details of legal recourse available for such women. It would also make available details of legal recourse for such women along with the procedure for accessing the same in consultation with the Ministries of Home, External Affairs, Law and Justice and National Commission for Women.

Q&A – Return to India Query

Advice for NRIs and Indians abroad on returning to India

Here is a recent online query on Returning to India.

I am a software engineer from India and I have spent my last 15 years abroad in various countries. Which place in India is best for an NRI like me to settle down on returning to India with a decent job?

Response from our editor follows

This is a great question, but there is hardy any information on your interests, personal situation, career goals or intent.

If you were unconstrained and had the resources, wouldnt you want to settle in Andamans ?

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or Himachal Pradesh?

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India is a vast, ever-changing nation so it is really important to focus on these:

  • Interests and personal situation:
    • Are you extroverted and outgoing and want an urbane social circle?
    • Do you have an extended family living in a certain region? Do you plan to socialize frequently with your family?

Your interests and personal situation will guide you on the city/region where you want to ‘settle down.’ For example, if your extended family is in Imphal, Manipur, wouldn’t you be better off settling closer in Imphal, Assam or Kolkata? Same goes for your interests. If you love the ocean, wouldn’t you want to settle in Mumbai or Goa?

  • Career goals:
    • Do you specialize in a very niche area. E.g AI or Big-data tool?
    • Do you plan to enrich your career with a move to India?

I am not going to assume whether you are an AI, Big-data or HANA consultant since most metros will have opportunities for these. If you plan to settle in a major metro, this may be a non-issue. However, if you are looking at settling in tier-2 cities, you need to reflect on your career goals and re-skilling too.

  • Intent:
    • Are you clear why you want to move back to India?
    • Are you prepared to accept the ways of life in a developing nation – traffic, pollution, regionalism etc?

Bottomline: Be clear of your intent and you will be better informed. Check out my recent post: “What were your experiences moving back to India after getting US citizenship? What are the best ways to make this move?

You may also be interested in Return 2 India Section of GaramChai.com 


Indian Passport holders aren’t globally welcome?

Indians and Indian passport holders have been traveling overseas in large numbers. An increasing number of them also travel to Europe to tour and explore new lands. As per a recent survey, Indians to spend more on holidays abroad this year:

Travel portal, TripAdvisor, polled more than 44,000 people across 25 countries during the survey conducted between January 16 and February 2. Of these, just over 32,158 were its own customers interviewed online. The others who participated in the survey were a mix of hoteliers and panellist from a market research company.

“Against the optimistic backdrop of the Indian economy, both travellers and hoteliers are expressing clear intentions that paint a positive picture for the Indian travel sector in 2015. Significantly, this optimism looks set to translate into a sharp spike in the number of Indians travelling abroad this year,” said Nikhil Ganju, country manager, TripAdvisor, India.

Of course, travel to foreign lands is fraught with uncertainty. Documentation and visa paperwork is just one factor to consider. However, having the right visas and travel permit is a major issue that Indians face while traveling overseas.

Take the example of the young lady from Mumbai, Khushbu Kaushal, who decided to visit and explore the East European country of Georgia (link) alone. Nothing wrong with that. Single women travelers are increasingly exploring the world alone. However, due to some paperwork issues, Ms. Kaushal was denied entry into Georgia and deported. It is unclear from her detailed facebook post what the issue was but what is appalling is her ordeal.

Kaushal
From Ms. Kaushal’s Facebook

She begins herFacebook post with an appeal to the Georgian Ambassador to India.

Dear Mr. Archil Dzuliashvili (Georgian Ambassador to India) ,

I am a citizen of India, a single woman who earns her honest living working for an advertising agency. This year for my annual break I decided to visit your country Georgia. It rated pretty high for solo woman travellers and the general topography and the history of the country was attractive enough to seal my decision.
My flight for Georgia took off from Mumbai on 29th June at 5am IST and I reached Tbilisi by 5pm Georgia time. I was carrying approved e-visa, letter from my employer stating I was on a holiday and will be joining back after my vacation, my bank statement to prove my financial stability, my hotel bookings to prove my stay in the country is legit and health and travel insurance in case anything happens to me while I am in your country.

….

The post went viral and was picked up my major Indian media outlets. From Indian media :


Parbinder Kaur Shergill – Judge in Canada Supreme Court

Indian-origin Sikh woman first turbaned judge in Canada Supreme Court

Last week, Palbinder Kaur Shergill was appointed to the B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, becoming the first turbaned judge in Canada.

She was born in Punjab, India, and immigrated to Canada with her family when she was four years old. She grew up in Williams Lake, B.C.

Image source: huffingtonpost.ca

Ms Shergill’s extended family in Jalandhar, India run a non-profit computer and stitching centre for the poor, reported The Indian Express.

Her appointment was announced along with two other judges by Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, under the new judicial application process. The new process emphasises transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

Known as a prominent human rights lawyer in Canada, Shergill was instrumental in helping shape human rights and religious accommodation law in Canada through her pro bono work as General Legal Counsel for the World Sikh Organisation of Canada. “Prior to her appointment to the bench, Justice Palbinder Kaur Shergill practised as a lawyer and mediator with her law firm, Shergill and Company, Trial Lawyers. She has extensive trial and appellate experience and has appeared before courts and tribunals across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Justice Shergill was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2012 and is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service,” said the introduction released by the minister.

In the media:

Do I really need an immigration company advise to move to Canada from UAE?

My age 34, have 9 yrs exp, have 5yr old kid and educated wife, pls suggest

This was a query from an online forum that our Editor responded to.

No. You don’t really need an ‘immigration company’ to advice you on moving to Canada IFF:

  • You are able to download all immigration forms and documents from the CIC web (link: Apply to immigrate to Canada)
  • You are able to understand all the requirements and follow them on your own (most of it is simple English)
  • You are able to get all the documents, copies, attestations etc as required
  • You are able to seek police and security clearance
  • You have access to required funds
  • You are able to search information on ‘life in Canada’ and know where you want to land and what you want to do there
  • When in doubt, you are confident that you can ‘search’ the web and seek answers

If you are educated and confident, there is no reason to hire an immigration consultant/company. Most of these consultants help you fill the form and help with documentation.

Either way, you are still responsible for the application and to respond to queries from CIC.

 

When everything is available in the USA, why do people carry so much stuff from India?

This was an interesting question that came from an online forum.

Indeed, US is the land of plenty and almost everything is available in the US. Indian Grocery shops – check out our extensive listing – can be found in almost every city and metro in the US. They stock a wide array of ethnic food, utensils, cookers and trinkets. Indians still prefer to carry suit-case full of ‘stuff’ while traveling to the US. A few weeks ago, we responded to a similar question “Where do I buy Indian mangoes in the USA?”

Here are a few practical reasons why Indians might ‘stuff’ their baggage while traveling to the US.

  1. Food-stuff and dry-grocery – to be used during the initial few days after they land. Many Indian visitors are used to home-cooked food and might plan to cook a dinner/lunch at an extended-stay hotel or at an apartment. [Why don’t they just drive to an Indian store for grocery stuff? Because it may not be possible to drive down during the first few days. ]
  2. Clothing – Indian ethnic wear, like Indian Sarees, Chudidhar (for women) and Kurtas (for men) sell at a steep premium. It is practical to carry sufficient number of these. Indian clothing can be heavy, adding to the baggage!
  3. Trinkets, Curios, handicrafts – ‘what did you get for me?’ is a typical question colleagues, friends and neighbors might ask. Indians returning back to the US generally carry a bagful of typical curios for others and some for themselves
  4. Mom’s pickles – Pickles, papads, ‘homemade’ masalas and savories are perennial favorites even though US customs officers have been known to randomly pick and discard some of these
  5. Indian Utensils – Some folks carry Indian utensils, cookers, mixers and even wet-grinders. Such stuff can be expensive in the US.

Requests from family and friends. Family and friends in the US are sure to make requests from 1, 2, 3 which returning-Indians might be obliged to bring back.

NRIs in Middle East: Expatriates scramble for return tickets as Qatar crisis escalates

News update from mathrubhumi on the Quatar crisis:

Kasargod:  The expatriate community in Qatar is scrambling to find tickets to come back home following the escalating crisis in the country following the isolation of Doha. Following the crisis, the expats who booked tickets through or from other Gulf Countries are in a rush to find or buy tickets on Indian and Sri Lankan flight operators before the vacation begins on June 22.

The airlines in the Gulf countries have responded to the crisis by assuring the passengers a full refund of the ticket amount. The expats, in the meanwhile, have pointed out that the move is insufficient to tide over the crisis as the airfares have quadrupled following the crisis.

Several Malayalies who run their own businesses in the Gulf countries conduct their financial transactions out of Doha. The country is also at risk of food shortage as was signaled by the heavy rush at the hypermarkets. The food, egg, meat and milk supplies of Qatar are either from or routed through Saudi but the country hopes the transactions will have a smooth flow in the holy month of Ramzan.

Meanwhile, KMCC President SAM Basheer has asked the Malayaly community to have faith in the administrators of Qatar. High-level talks are on to diffuse the crisis and the community should abstain from interfering in the domestic affairs of the country and beware of negative propaganda in social media.

Sushma Swaraj: Even if you are stuck on the Mars, Indian Embassy there will help you.

Last week, NBC’s Megyn Kelly asked Indian PM Modi if he is on Twitter

Indian digirati quickly took to social media asking Ms. Kelly to do her homework before interviewing world leaders. At last count, beloved NaMo had over 30 million followers!

NaMo

With 8 million plus followers, Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj continues to make waves. In the past, we have blogged “NRIs wonder: How do I bring my issue to the attention of Sushma Swaraj?”

Her latest tweet is a bit Tongue-in-cheek, but may not be too far fetched.

 

Yes CNN, all nonsense words have their roots in Sanskrit

नमो नमः, नमस्कारः Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo,

Kudos to you and CNN for the highly entertaining and engaging interview of this year’s Spelling Bee champion, the 12-year-old Ananya Vinay.

The maturity you guys displayed in quizzing the young Spelling Bee champion about “a nonsense word” tweeted by the President of this great land shows class and finesse!  I just don’t understand all the ruckus over your innocuous remark about Sanskrit.

In a time-honored journalistic tradition, you seem to have researched extensively on South Asians and Sanskrit before the interview. You guessed rightly, that Sanskrit happens to be the mother tongue of the 1.2 billion Indians (just as Latin is the Lingua Franca in all Latin American countries)

I feel the same way as you. Every brown-skinned American kid should be well versed in the language of the land their parents or grandparents migrated out of. After all, didn’t former President Obama speak fluent Swahili?

In your googling you must have come across this little-known fact: Indian babies don’t cry. Rather the first word they utter after slipping out of their mother’s womb is the rhythmic chanting of Om (or Auṃ in Sanskrit: ॐ).  I remember my grandmother singing Sanskrit lullabies to me and my cousins while growing up in the old country; I am sure Ananya’s grandma did so too.

I am glad you are brushing up on your Sanskrit before you interview the Indian-American Fab Five members of the Congress. A few words of Sanskrit with a Namaste is sure to break the ice when you happen to bump into Niki Haley or Bobby Jindal.

Punardarśanāya’ from an Anon-Desi | From  Little India, El Camino Real; where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average spelling Bee contestants.

I’m a multi millionaire and I want to move to the USA, will I be granted a permanent visa?

Here is a recent query from an online forum. The questioner adds

“I have no plans to work, or claim welfare of any kind. Simply buy a property and spend my days relaxing, shopping and so on.”

Our editor responds: Merely the intent to move to the US will not get you a visa.  However, since you are a multi-millionaire, and have a million dollars to invest, you may be eligible for certain categories of immigrant visas. As a high-net-worth individual/entrepreneur, you qualify for several types of visas. You could apply for the following:

  • E-2 Treaty Investor (nonimmigrant visa) – According to the USCIS, one is eligible for an E-2 visa if you invest a substantial amount of money in a new or existing U.S. business. This is applicable for individuals from countries that have a treaty of commerce with the United States. This visa isn’t an immigrant visa, so it has an initial period of stay of 2 years. You can extend the visa in two-year increments.
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (immigrant visa and green card) – Check out the detailed Q&A: What is Eb5 visa?  EB5 is a popular program that some wealthy Chinese and Indians have been availing. After your attorney files the green card application, one should be prepared to do an interview and wait about six months before being granted the Visa

 

Q&A: What would be the impact under Indian laws for Indians, either residents or non-residents, getting citizenship in other countries?

Indian law does not prevent an individual from acquiring a foreign citizenship. However, after acquiring a foreign citizenship, an individual has to Renounce their Indian Citizenship (ref link: Consulate General of India )

“It is mandatory for all persons of Indian origin, who had ever held an Indian passport, to renounce their Indian citizenship upon acquiring any foreign nationality. This is a prerequisite to obtain Visas or OCI cards from the Consulate.”