Immigration law deals with national statutes, regulations and legal precedents governing immigration into and deportation from a country.
As per Merriam Webster dictionary, emigration refers to departure from a place of abode, natural home, or country for life or residence elsewhere.
The primary intention of immigrants is to settle down in a foreign country as its permanent resident due to political, economic, religious or other related issues. However, this is a guided procedure and regulated by an elaborate legal framework. This framework is specific to individual countries. Object is to maintain law & order and not compromise its national interests.
What are the immigration laws in general?
Immigration laws refer to rules and regulations which are specifically aimed at governing immigration in a country. For foreign citizens, these laws are linked with country-specific citizenship laws. Besides domestic laws, international laws also connect to the matters relating to immigration. United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (UN-ICCPR) is an important aspect in this regard. The apex international body which directs migration problems is the International Organization for Migration. This organization was established in the year 1951. It was particularly associated with European Migration, with the aim of helping stranded or victimized after the culmination of the Second World War. However, a basic difference that exists between an immigrant and migrant is that while the former would have been a migrant before. The later might not necessarily become an immigrant.
Immigration laws in India
India is a vibrant country which is home to diverse cultures, beliefs and communities. It is thus an attractive place for immigrants from across the world. The greatest challenge for consideration of immigrants to any host country is the acquisition of citizenship. Besides other fundamental rights and freedom granted to its citizens.
As far as the subcontinent is concerned, the primary source of legal structure pertaining to immigration is the Constitution of India:
- The Indian Constitution lays down for unitary or single citizenship throughout the country. No federal citizenship is required for residents of different states constituting the Union of India. Quite different from the system in the United States of America.
- Part II of the Indian Constitution, in particular Articles 5 to 11, deals with the citizenship provisions for permanent settlement in India. Defining of a citizen as one domiciled in India or being of Indian origin through familial lines. Article 5 stipulates three conditions for those persons at the beginning of the enforcement of the Constitution for becoming a citizen of India:
- Having been born in the Indian territory.
- Parents have been born in Indian territory.
- Who had been the resident of India for a minimum of five years before the Constitution came into force.
- Article 6 provides for citizenship rights to people having migrated from Pakistan to India.While Article 7 for those having migrated from India to Pakistan.
- Article 8 deals with the citizenship rights of those people who are of an Indian origin and have been living in some other foreign country.
- Article 10 with the continuation of these foreigners as Indian citizens. While Article 11 is about the powers vested to the Parliament of the country with regards to legislating on issues pertaining to citizenship.
- The Indian Constitution also provides for seeking citizenship through the process of naturalization (residing in India for fourteen years). Registration of Foreigners with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO). Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) is also constitutionally enshrined.
Other Immigration laws in India
Three other laws that primarily deal with immigration in India are briefly discussed below:
- The Passport (Entry in India) Act, 1920 provides for the obligation of the foreigners to procure visas from the respective Indian Missions situated in their native countries. The law also stipulates what all documents are to be submitted by the foreigners in order to travel India through and across the Indian territory.*The Foreigners Act of 1946 is a pivotal law dealing with the arrival and residence of the foreigners in India until their exit from the country.
- The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1992 . Basically provisions provide for the legal registration of those foreigners who have outstayed their specified visa period within the country.
How to become an immigration lawyer in India?
- In order to become an Immigration lawyer in India, it is necessary for the interested person to attend law school and complete either a five-year integrated course of law after the completion of intermediate school (+2 level) or a three-year LLB program offered by various prestigious governmental institutions after the completion of an undergraduate degree.
- A specialization in immigration laws of India, is not offered by many universities. But, specialization in other fields such as criminal, constitutional, corporate law etc. are more sought after by students.
- However, interested candidates can enhance their skills and knowledge in and about immigration laws by pursuing internships under already established immigration lawyers. They can also joint Law Firms that look into the legalities of immigration in India. Internships are a better method of understanding and identifying one’s interests and learning practical skills about this area of practice.
All these situations speak highly for the need and importance of immigration lawyers in the country. Those who are skilled and experienced to cater to the needs of different clients and their demands. Immigration policies, rules and regulations are one of the first laws reviewed or altered by States in cases of any international aggression or emergencies. Thus comes into play the role of immigration lawyers who help such people pursue their aims.