Mateen Hafeez | TNNMumbai: In the last five years, the collector’s office in Mumbai has received around 150 requests for obtaining Indian citizenship. However, not a single foreigner working in Bollywood have so far applied for citizenship, though some have been living in India for more than seven years.
It is also learnt that the immigration department is busy scrutinising the visa categories of dozens of foreigners who entered India on a tourist visa and began working in the film industry. “When one can get an employment visa and work with it, then what is the need of working on a visitor’s visa?’’ asked an immigration official. The department is now classifying the visa details of foreigners who entered the country on a specific visa but are flouting the rules.
Among those who have been staying in India and working on an employment visa include UK national and actress Katrina Kaif, US national Dipti Nawal, UK national Salma Agha and Yana Gupta from Czech Republic. “Most of the actors and other foreigners working in Bollywood prefer staying here on an employment visa. Sometimes they come asking for an extension in visa period. We consider whatever is correct as per the law,’’ said a police official from the immigration department.
Moreover, Pakistani singer Adnan Sami is staying in Mumbai along with his German national wife. As per the bilateral treaty between India and the US on tourist visa, an American national can stay in India on a tourist visa for as long as 10 years and the same tenure is applicable for Indian citizens in America as well.
Some models who came to India either on a short time tourist visa or an employment visa and could not get their visa period extended had to face the wrath of the law. Model Negar Khan, a Norway national, was deported to her motherland on February 7, 2005. She had come to India on a visitor’s visa but started working in video albums.
Immigration officials said that 40% of those who applied for Indian citizenship are Iranian citizens who have been staying in India for some time, the rest 40% are the second or third generation of South African nationals who went there but now want to return to their homeland, India. As part of the procedure to obtain nationality, a foreigner has to fill up forms under the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, and submit it to the nearest collector’s office from where it is sent to the special branch or the intelligence department for check. Once it is verified, the collector calls an applicant for taking oath and then the documents are sent to the Union home minister’s office for the final nod.
Foreign actors in India include Ali Larter of the US (Marigold), Rachel Shelley of England (Lagaan), UK’s national Tobo Stephan (The Rising), Tania Zeta and an Austrian national (Bunty aur Babli and Salaam Namaste).
The Times of India, August 30, 2010