Work and Travel in India
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN INDIA FOR TRAVELLERS
India is a country on everyone’s bucket list. Travellers who want to work in India are usually looking for something a bit different. With India being not a country but a subcontinent, there are different climates from one end of the country to the next. It leaves the average working traveller with an abundance of work opportunities throughout the year.
If you want to work and travel in India the most expensive part of the process will be getting there. Once you’re there you’ll find that many volunteers stay in guesthouses inside the cities and monasteries/ashrams outside the cities.
India comes with its fair share of volunteering opportunities. Despite India’s growing wealth and power, this is still a country struck by poverty. Many working travellers in India come here because they desire to do some good. There are volunteer programs throughout the country asking for both unskilled and skilled working travellers.
This guide is going to introduce you to the various seasonal work options in India. Take note that the seasons differ slightly from those in the West. When working in any region of India ensure you do your research as every region can have a slightly different climate.
India is a big country, and there is work all year round. India is a country with cultural and linguistic diversity. Even though there are different languages in different states, or cities, English is one of the official and the uniting language. Hindi is another official language spoken by most people in India. If two Indians from different parts of the country, it is not unusual for them to speak English, or Hindi.
It is not easy to find a job in India because most jobs are not listed. The easiest way to find a job in India is by contacting a recruiting agency, or get referred by a friend or acquaintance living in India. The startup boom in India has opened many career prospects for Indians and foreigners alike. Which means if you are experienced, skilled, and have the right attitude for the job, getting hired, and getting a decent living out of the remuneration you get is not a problem.
Some of the industries foreigners might find interesting work are:
1) Hospitality and Travel
Hospitality in India is based on the principle "Atithi Devo Bhava", which means "Guest is God" in Sanskrit. The treatment of guests is based on this principle. Indians are known to go out of their way to help foreigners. The hospitality industry is strong, and going good. Travel is the largest of the service industry in India. Getting involved in the tourism industry in India is exciting to be in, both as an employee, and an entrepreneur. Besides luxury travel, India is one of the emerging backpacking superpowers. Like the travelers in the west, Indians have been warming up to traveling before settling down to make a living.
Foreigners can get jobs in the travel industry. There are many resorts, shacks run either by a foreigner or local Indians which employ foreigners. Resorts in Goa, Varkala, Puducherry hire foreigners.
There are lot of people in India, which means the teaching and training. Indians love to learn foreign languages like Spanish, Mandarin, French, German. People who travel to India, and like to teach languages may apply to language teaching institutes. Another avenue to explore is cultural training. Cultural trainers may get hired by educational institutions, organizations.
3) Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing in India is at a nascent stage, and anybody can break into this industry in India. India has more than 200 million internet users, which is one third of the population of the USA. The industry will offer you decent remuneration, and good career prospects. Google for digital marketing jobs in India, and apply for a job.
Venture Capitalists are currently is love with technology startups in India, because startups here have been giving world class technology solutions. This means startups are currently in hiring spree. With some Indian companies being listed on NASDAQ, analysts see that many more may follow. The government is reforming policies to favor startups, and this is allowing technology companies grow beyond expectation.
There are many NGOs run by foreigners or are running in partnership with foreign institutions. Despite the growth story of India, the country still has many challenges which is a great opportunity for anyone to work on the challenges. Some of the challenges India is facing, and that which can be addressed immediately are: Literacy, Computer literacy, Malnutrition, Sanitation, Trafficking, and many more.
This article is a list of 'outsiders' who blended in and working for a social good.
The cost of living in India is less than the west, which means that the salary you get may be a fraction of what you get in the west.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIA
This page has everything from travel and visa advice to working and living information. Some people come to India unprepared and are often at loggerheads with the authorities. This guide can save you some heartache. Know before you go.
The Indian visa system, controlled by the Ministry of External Affairs, changes regularly, and is often not the same from year-to-year. Luckily, it has become far less complex than it used to be, with the introduction of electronic visas for air travellers from many countries.
If you want to apply for a visa to work in India, you should bear in mind that the visa starts running from the date of issue not from the date of arrival. Make sure you are prepared to leave for India as soon as you receive your visa to maximise the days you have.
A tourist visa is insufficient for volunteer work, however. The Indian government recently combined the employment visa with the previous category of visa for volunteers, known as the X visa.
The employment visa is only issued to foreigners working for an organisation registered in India. The main requirement is you need to present proof of your position, with a contract that includes terms and conditions. There’s a new rule that states workers in India must earn over $25,000 per year.
For volunteers, translators, teachers of languages other than English, and cooks this requirement was waived.
The vast majority of nations, including all European nations, North American Nations, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand, are under the electronic visa system. If you choose to enter overland it is known that the embassies in Bali, Jakarta, and Kathmandu will service visa applications from non-nationals.
With India you should be well aware of the fact that the rules can and do change at extremely short notice.
Work Visa and Permit:
Every traveler needs a visa to work in India, and permits are required to travel in certain parts of India.
Volunteers need to apply for an Employment Visa to volunteer in India. Being the seventh biggest, and second most populous nation in the world is rife with issues like poverty, malnutrition, human trafficking, health. It has the largest illiterate population in the world despite being the largest English speaking country in the world. Volunteering in India is a popular mode of work for travelers in India. The reasons for volunteering in India is several. Due to large healthcare issues, poverty, inequality, volunteers have tremendous opportunities to contribute to making the world a better place. Few other popular reasons to volunteer is to improve your skills, to make an impact, and to improve your profile.
Besides these reasons, India is one of the oldest continuous civilization dating back several millennia whilst also being the birthplace of four major religions namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Food, language, culture changes every 50 or so kilometers. Besides this India is one of the fastest growing economy in the world. Travelers work or volunteer here to experience the tradition and the culture. Indians are welcoming of outsiders and would like to hear your story.
You should know:
1) Visa to India is valid from the date of issue, not from the date you step foot in India. If you have to travel in January, 2017, and if your visa for a duration of one was stamped on August 2016, the validity of the visa is already through by almost six months. And you are left with only six months of time in India.
2) This rule applies to citizens of most countries. It is that once you leave India, you cannot return for two months even if your Visa. For example, if you have four months of Visa left, and you left India to travel in another country, you cannot be back in India for the next two months.
3) This rule doesn't apply if you are planning to travel to Sri Lanka and Nepal. You can obtain a re-entry permit which costs $30 at any immigration office in India. This permit will allow you to travel out of India, and be back whenever you want before the Indian visa duration expires.
Citizens of all nationalities need a visa to enter India.
Note: Traveling and sight seeing can be done using all the visa types mentioned below. However, you need an employment visa to work anywhere in India. When you show up to a place of business for a proposal to work there, you may be asked for your Visa type. Employers do not employ anyone without the employment visa. So before you travel, decide if you want to work and travel, or strictly travel.
Types of Visa:
a) Transit Visa - 15 days Not extendable in India
b) Tourist Visa - 180 days Not extendable in India
For travelers who want to visit friends in India, or go sight seeing. Tourists cannot extend their stay for more than 180 days, and they need to be back to their home country to apply again. Extensions need to applied one month before visa expires. It may take up to 45 days and need approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
c) Business Visa - 5 years Prove purpose by company's letter, and other documents. Extendable in India
This visa is best for those who would like to do business in India, or explore business opportunities in India. This visa cannot be procured to take employment in India, and earning an income in India. You will need to procure a letter from the business organization you want to work with. You need to start the application stating the nature of business you are involving yourself in, duration of your stay, expense report, and cities you will visit. Visa duration may vary between six months up to ten years depending the capacity at which your business wants to operate.
d) Employment Visa - 1 year or the period of contract, extendable in India. Appointment letter is required to apply for an employment visa
An employment visa is a must for foreigners who want to work in India for an income, or to find volunteering opportunities. The validity of the visa is the duration of work, or up to one year. You need to have a letter of appointment, or a contract from a company operating in India. The applicant need to be making more than $25,000 and above. For volunteers, proof needs to be shown of the appointment. Same goes for Ethnic cooks, translators, non-English language teachers, and members of Foreign High Commissions and Embassies.
e) Student Visa - 5 years or the period of course Proof of admission into institution
Students who wish to study in an institute registered in India can obtain a student visa. Visa is valid for five years or the duration of the course, and is extendable in India. Students who would like to study in Yoga in most Yoga schools need to obtain "Yoga visa".
f) Conference Visa:
This visa is issued to individuals who wants to attend a conference in India that is conducted by the Government, or a government organization.
Note: Conference event held by private organizations can be attended by applying for a Business Visa.
g) Journalist Visa:
This is difficult to get, and one needs to e cautious and informed before applying. The authorities in India is sensitive about anyone from the media. This visa can be obtained by journalists, or a photographer who are professionals, and intend to make a film, or a documentary. The validity is three months.
Note: The duration, the number of entry is subject to approval from Visa authorities working in Indian embassies. But make your case known, and ask for a longer duration visa.
1) If you are a citizen of the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, or Australia, you will need to apply with an outsourcing company that was contracted by the Indian embassy or Consulate in your locality.
United States of America:
a) Select the state of residence, and click START VISA ORDER HERE button
b) Enter Login credentials or Continue as Guest
c) Fill application
If you are citizen of countries other than USA, UK, Canada, and Australia, please apply for e-visa online take a print out of the submitted application
2) Schedule an appointment on the website.
2) Visit the nearest embassy, submit visa application, passport, and other support documents. Please check the embassy you need to submit documents. Also write a support letter addressed to the embassy. Check the photo requirement for your country
3) Be honest about your application, and your purpose of visit to India.
4) Receive your visa approval.
5) Celebrate the successful visa application, and then make arrangements for your travel.
1) While in India keep your passport with you at all times
2) Make photocopies of your passport, and your India visa stamp page, keep one copy with you, and one in your accommodation.
3) Register yourself at the nearest police station for security reasons, or take help from the organization you will work at.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN INDIA
The traditional Western spring months beginning from March are the hottest months of the year. This is where the snow is off the ground and India grows hot and dry. It’s also the time of year where most tourists visit.
The types of seasonal work on offer vary heavily. Stay in a city with a large number of foreign travellers and you’re bound to find work during the tourist season. Most traditional hospitality jobs at hotels tend to be taken up by locals, due to their good English skills, but speciality skills are welcome.
Diving is extremely popular at the height of the tourist season. You can easily work in India if you have some suitable diving qualifications. The main diving areas include the Andoman and Nicobar Islands, Goa, and Pondicherry.
The traditional summer season in the West is not the perfect time to visit India. In fact, this is the worst time of the year to visit because from June to September it’s the monsoon season.
Most rural areas are cut off due to sudden flash flooding episodes and cyclones. The majority of seasonal work outside the cities is simple non-existent during the monsoon season.
The autumn season is the post-monsoon period and will bring clear, sunny skies to the country. This opens up the possibility of seasonal work for those who want to work in India, once again.
The post-monsoon season brings further opportunities for work in the tourism industry. This is when a lot of resorts will reopen for a second season of visitors. Again, you may be able to find hospitality jobs if you have specific skills.
The post-monsoon season will also bring English-teaching work in abundance. Many people who want to work and travel in India do so and then tour the country during the summer season. Like with a lot of countries, autumn is the best time to apply for English-teaching contracts.
Make sure you research the school carefully because well-known operations stand side by side with less reputable schools.
Winter crosses both the post-monsoon season and India’s relatively short winter months of January and February. The availability of seasonal jobs will heavily depend on where you happen to be.
The Himalayas, Rajasthan, and the Kashmir areas can get deathly cold in the winter time as strong winds come down from Central Asia. Heavy snowfall is common, which opens up a whole host of skiing opportunities.
The main ski resorts in India include Gulmarg, Kufri, and Narkanda. This developing part of the Indian economy still provides great opportunities for qualified ski instructors in the winter time.
Munsiari is another option for seasonal work due to the presence of glaciers. Work and travel with guiding experience and you may be able to get work taking tourist groups out to the glaciers.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN INDIA
The Indian people are welcoming to foreigners who’re in India for all sorts of reasons. Those who come from America and the United Kingdom tend to be embraced the most of all. It’s considered a great honour to have a friend from these nations.
Volunteers receive no specific ill treatment in India and should expect nothing but the best reception from local people.
- Edited on May 18 2021 by Lily
- Edited on Jun 11 2019 by
- Edited on Jun 11 2018 by