When looking for places that offer best options for those who want to look for ways to work abroad and enjoy the freelancers freedom, we move once again to the East. In our series we’ve already examined possibilities of freelancing in Thailand, job options in Canada and now we want to give you the ultimate guide to freelancing in India. We cover all the aspects everyone who wants to try freelancing in India should be familiar with. It certainly is true that the best way to actually try something is by doing it, but before you decide freelancing in India is something you want to do, it’s best to research a bit before you actually take off. Freelancing is a great form of discovering the world with no strings attached. It gives you more freedom (hence the name) but it also requires a bit of a different mind set. After all you are responsible for all things work. It is the same when freelancing in India. We’ve decided to ease your way to it and researched the things you should know beforehand.
Visa and Legal Work Permit for Those Freelancing in India
All foreigners, except for nationals of Nepal and Bhutan, need a visa to enter India.No matter if you want to visit friends, do some sightseeing or enjoy the amazing Goa and simply be lazy. When it comes to obtaining a visa upon arrival there are some differences for various nationalities. You can obtain a “Tourist Visa-on-Arrival“ valid for 30 days if you are a citizen of one of the following five countries: Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore only. Other passport holders must obtain a visa before taking a flight to India. You cannot obtain a visa on arrival in India, and immigration authorities will not permit any foreigner to enter the country. So make sure to arrange that beforehand.
That was about the tourist visa, which does not allow you to work in India or perform any sort of freelancing activities. An Employment Visa is granted to those who are an employee of an Indian company / or those who intend to do honorary work (without salary) with Registered NGOs in India. The Embassy/Consulate may grant an Employment visa valid for a limited time, irrespective of the duration of the contract. A further extension up to 5 years could be obtained from MHA / FRRO in the concerned state in India. Please note that the validity of the visa begins from the date of issue by the High Commission of India and not from the date of travel on your application form. The duration of the visa is at the sole discretion of the Issuing Authority. All visa fees once paid are non-refundable irrespective of the outcome of the visa application and duration granted.
But when you want to do freelancing in India you might not necessarily want to be employed by an Indian company. You might want to open your own firm. Foreigners opening businesses in India, however need to do so in corporation with locals, as approved by the government. In some cities, certain restrictions also apply. To avoid legal difficulties, it is best to seek legal advice to be aware of important issues such as restrictions and eligibility. The process begins with creating a proposed name of the company and seeking approval from the Registrar of Companies. The process itself is not that complicated, but you will have to collect some documents. One is a Memorandum of Articles of Association that must be issued by the ROC and printed, after which an application addressed to the Superintendent of Stamps must be submitted to obtain a Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association.
All of these documents have to be submitted to the Registrar of Companies with a registration fee to be paid for the granting of the Certification of Incorporation. A company seal must then be obtained and a Permanent Account Number issued by the UTI Investors Services Limited. A Tax Account Number for income taxes must also be obtained, after which the company will be registered under the Shops and Establishment Act. Registration for value added tax before the Sales Tax Officer where the company is located will also be needed followed by registration for Profession tax with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization and the ESIC (medical insurance). Then an application for Government Approval for foreigners may be filed.
There are many opportunities for business in India, which many foreigners will find lucrative, including export data servicing, software development and e-commerce exports. Expats are allowed to open bank accounts in India and accept cash from abroad. They are also allowed to send abroad at least 75% of their net earnings. Employment visa is also granted to foreigners coming to India as a consultant on contract for whom the Indian company pays a fixed remuneration (this may not be in the form of a monthly salary), foreign artists engaged to conduct regular performances for the duration of the employment contract given by Hotels, Clubs, other organizations, coaches of national /state level teams, or reputed sports clubs, sportsmen who are given contract for a specified period by the Indian Clubs/organizations, self-employed foreign nationals coming to India for providing engineering, medical, accounting, legal or such other highly skilled services in their capacity as independent consultants provided the provision of such services by foreign nationals is permitted under law, engineers/technicians coming to India for installation and commissioning of equipment/machines/tools in terms of the contract for supply of such equipment/machines/tools, providers of technical support/services, transfer of know-how/services for which the Indian company pays fees/royalty to the foreign company.
Health Insurance for Those Freelancing in India
Once you decide to work abroad things like health insurance should be one of your priorities. Obviously you might think that since your young, healthy and fabulous you don’t need one, but as it is with all sorts of insurances we don’t need them for good times, but we need them for bad ones. In India you have a lot of options including private companies which offer all sorts of health insurance packages. Many, however, advise the National Health Insurance as a more reliable one. Especially when you are a foreigner and might not be able to judge well. I suggest contact either National Insurance or United India Insurance or Oriental Insurance. These are government run companies and you might be certain the health insurance programs they offer are valid and reliable ones.
Moving Around India for Those Freelancing in India
If you are an adventurous spirit, driving in India might be the thrill you have been looking for. If not, you should rather get a professional driver to navigate you through the congested streets with their own unwritten rules. Driving in India will require you to share the road with rickshaws, speeding trucks, mopeds packed to the maximum capacity, dozens of other cars, and animals. A vital info for safe – or rather, safer – driving in India is the unofficial pecking order for right-of-way: cows (because they are holy), large trucks, buses, SUVs, cars, mopeds, rickshaws, bicycles, and lastly pedestrians. This means you be better of as a cow than any larger moving object and it also means that if you decide to simply move around walking you are at the very bottom of the pyramid. Getting a driver may seriously save you some nerves and be a safe option for the very beginning. More information about how to go about finding and hiring a local driver can be found on the Hiring a Driver page.
Getting a Place to Live for Those Freelancing in India
Driving is one thing but living in India is a crucial thing you might want to research beforehand. Whether your plan is to rent a flat or house, or buy a property, it is useful to know what to expect before beginning your search. Expats moving to India can certainly add ‘finding suitable accommodation’ to the already-extensive list of ‘adventures’ they’re going to have during their relocation. The range of housing options in India varies greatly from area to area, but expats moving to the commercial centres of Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore can expect even less suitable opportunities and even more competition than in other locations. Few things are absolutely essential. Bear in mind that unfurnished here means not just no furniture but no air conditioners, appliances and so forth. Make sure you know exactly what is included. Don’t be shy about asking for things such as new mattresses and also new furniture if it looks well used! Power blackouts are common. Make sure you have generator back-up or at least an inverter (battery back up) or you’ll spend a lot of time in the dark. Don’t expect an oven, very few places have them. Renting accommodation in India can be challenging, as the demand for good-quality, moderate-cost accommodation is far greater than the supply available. Housing quality and cost can vary considerably within each area of a city, and it is often difficult to find suitable accommodation in a particular location. The good news is that sometimes employers have a few accommodation options lined up for expats prior to their arrival in India, which they can then visit and decide on which one will suit them best. However, if you are not so lucky – and if you don’t speak Hindi or maybe just decide to do freelancing all the way – you are more than likely going to have to obtain the services of an Indian estate agent to help you find a place to stay. Just make sure to really search different options and even if you’re sick and tired don’t settle for the next best thing. In India this may be the least best thing.
The Living Costs for Those Freelancing in India
Getting an apartment that meets your standards more or less can be one of the most difficult things of all. Even compared to driving around India. The fact is that once you deal with that, most other things are not as dramatic. The living costs in India compared to most European countries are not so grave, but bear in mind that some of the products (especially those imported ones) can be quite expensive. Indian cuisine is superb and takes its place among the great cuisines of the world. There is a good chance that you’d have tasted “Indian food” in your country, especially if you are a traveller from the West, but what India has exported abroad is just one part of its extraordinary range of culinary diversity. Sometimes especially when you are single it is much wiser and actually cheaper to simply eat out than buy food and prepare it yourself.
Indians usually share all the dishes and one person takes care of the ordering. Meals are generally eaten with the hands – always with the right hand only – even outside of the home. In upmarket restaurants, cutlery will be used, especially if the food being eaten is not Indian.
“Thali” meals are popular across India. In southern India, they are simply referred to as “meals”. A large metal plate is filled with small bowls of different dishes made of dhal, vegetables and meat, if it’s a non-vegetarian thali. This is served with an Indian bread such as a chapati or puri, and rice. A sweet dish rounds off the meal. In southern India, such meals are traditionally served on a banana leaf.
Every Indian city has many restaurants and eateries, offering a wide range of cuisines at various budgets. Some expats prefer to avoid small eateries, street food, salads and juices for hygienic reasons. Middle- and upper-class Indians love to try new foods, and “continental” and “Mediterranean” restaurants are popular. To get a general view of the prices in India check out this site, which compares most popular types of food and spendings.
High Speed Internet Costs for Those Freelancing in India
In India , internet speed have gone down to the drains with most big ISP‘s . They have come a long way from dial-up connections to broadband and fiber to home connections . That development however may be deceiving . Till now a majority of Indians crawl the internet rather than what we call surf it. If you are willing to work and use the internet like a pro you can check out one of the following providers that apparently are the TOP 5 internet providers in India.
One of the first ISP’s in India to provide high speed and affordable internet connections for home consumers. They have the best plans in all of India and they provide internet services through fiber optics only .
ACT broadband is the parent company of beam telecom and they offer even better plans internet services in comparison to beam. Currently ACT broadband is available in Bangalore , Nellore and Vijayawada .
You broadband is another great internet service provider in India , with their operations based in major metropolitan cities in India like Ahmedabad , Bangalore , Chennai , Gurgaon , Hyderabad , Mumbai , Navi mumbai , Powai ,Pune ,Surat , Thane , Vadodara and Vishakapatnam
Hayai broad is a emerging name inthe ISP business , It is based in Mumbai and provides internet services in Mumbai and its suburbs only.
Reliance has been a long term player in the ISP business . While they have been trying to capture a larger share of the market they are still relatively small in terms of range.
Weather and Climate in India
The weather in India varies dramatically. While the southern tip of the India is being lashed by tropical monsoon rain, the north will be blanketed in thick snow. Therefore, the best time to travel to India depends greatly on the destinations to be visited and the climate experienced there. But once you decide to live there be prepared that the season change may affect you greatly. Indian weather itself is divided into three distinct seasons — winter, summer, and the monsoon. Generally, the best time to visit India is during the winter, when the weather in most places is relatively cool and pleasant.
Living and working in India is a life-enhancing experience for many expats, who thrive on the challenge of immersing themselves in a unique, stimulating culture. The sub-continent is a vast, diverse place, with dynamic cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, a massive rural community, and a varied landscape ranging from the Himalayas in the north, the Thar desert in the east, and the sub-tropical backwaters of Kerala in the south. Most expats head to the big cities, where day-to-day life can be chaotic, frustrating, and at times overwhelming – but hugely rewarding at the same time.
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