India Expansion Guide
Global Upside helps companies set up, hire, and operate in India. Set up a legal entity quickly and easily with our solutions for branch, subsidiary, and rep office. Looking for an alternative to permanent establishment? Hire and pay employees in India without a legal entity by using our PEO & employer of record services. Once your business is set up, our teams can support with recruitment and staffing, human resources, employee benefits, payroll, accounting, and tax.
India, the world’s largest democracy, also has the world’s second-largest population. Culture and civilization have a long history and have had a global impact. In addition, India is a fast-rising economic and nuclear power. With a rapidly expanding economy, India increases exports and produces plenty of new businesses and jobs.
Private Limited Company (PLC)
A private limited company is a popular legal entity set-up in India because it is easier to manage. It takes a minimum of two investors to establish, and there is no minimum capital requirement. However, registration with the Registrar of Companies (ROC) is mandatory.
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
A limited liability partnership (LLP) combines the features of a legal entity and a traditional partnership. There should be at least two chosen partners, out of which two must be from India.
Branch Office (BO)
A branch office is a division of the parent company and can engage in filing and returns only after approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). However, the activities of a branch office are restricted.
Liaison Office (LO)
A liaison office (LO) acts to communicate between the parent company and suppliers in India. However, a liaison office cannot engage in any commercial activities or generate revenue in India. Therefore, prior approval from RBI is mandatory for establishing a liaison office.
No law imposes written contracts in India, but they are generally used to protect workers and employers and limit legal action. However, fixed-term contracts must be in writing.
Some of the details typically mentioned in the written contract include:
- Performance assessments
- Grievance and disciplinary procedure
- and more
The different types of employment relationships are:
- Permanent Employment – Per India’s Industrial Relations Code (IRC) 2020, permanent employment generally does not have any fixed termination date. Permanent employees enjoy statutory benefits such as paid annual leave, sick leave, compulsory health insurance, gratuity pay, and provident fund.
- Fixed-Term Contracts – Fixed-term contracts are usually for a set period under a written agreement, and the maximum term for which this designation may run is seven years.
- Temporary Employment – Per the Model Standing Orders for Service Sector 2020 India, temporary employment is for work that is essentially temporary and usually completed in a limited time. Temporary work agencies (TWAs) handle most temporary contracts in India.
A probationary period typically lasts up to 6 months in India, per the Model Standing Orders for the Industrial Relations Code, 2020. However, this period can further extend up to 3 months.
The Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Act 2020 of India states that employees cannot work more than 8 hours a day, six days a week.
According to the Factories Act, the daily work schedule cannot exceed 9 hours, and the weekly work schedule cannot exceed 48 hours.
Employees in India are entitled to the following leaves:
- Annual leave – Per India’s Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Act 2020, employees who have worked for at least 180 days in a year are allowed one leave per 20 days of work. In addition, employees under 18 get one leave per 15 days of employment.
- Maternity leave – Per the Maternity Benefit Act of India, every female employee of a company with at least ten employees with 26 weeks of paid maternity leave can begin up to 8 weeks before the due date. Additionally, a woman who adopts a child under three months is entitled to 12 weeks of adoption leave.
- Sick leave – Company policies primarily govern sick leaves. The length of statutory sick leave varies by industry and ranges from 15 to 40 days.
- Paternity leave – While there is no statutory minimum paternity leave for private-sector workers, male government employees can take up to 15 days of leave if they have fewer than two surviving children.
The following are the statutory national holidays observed in India:
- January 13 – Lohri
- January 26 – Republic Day
- March 11 – Maha Shivaratri/Shivaratri
- March 28 – Dolyatra
- March 29 – Holi
- April 2 – Good Friday
- April 14 – Ambedkar Jayanti
- April 21 – Rama Navami
- April 25 – Mahavir Jayanti
- May 14 – Ramzan Id/Eid-ul-Fitar
- May 26 – Buddha Purnima/Vesak
- July 21 – Bakr Id/Eid ul-Adha
- August 9 – Muharram/Ashura
- August 15 – Independence Day
- August 30 – Janmashtami
- October 2 – Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti
- October 15 – Dussehra
- October 19 – Milad un-Nabi/Id-e-Milad
- November 4 – Diwali/Deepavali
- November 19 – Guru Nanak Jayanti
- December 25 – Christmas
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) administers and regulates the National Pension System (NPS), a voluntary, contribution-based retirement savings plan.
The Indian Government established a pension scheme within the NPS called the Atal Pension Yojana (APY). In addition, some industries have various other pension plans that offer retirement benefits.
Social insurance, often known as social welfare, is a government-mandated insurance program that provides financial help to the elderly, disabled, and injured.
Some examples of social insurance programs are:
- Dependents’/Survivors Benefit – Survivor benefits for work-related injuries that result in death are as follows:
- Spouse’s pension – 60% of the disability pension
- Orphan’s and widowed mother’s pension – 40% of the disability pension
- Other eligible survivors’ pension – 40% of the disability pension to which the deceased was entitled is payable to eligible survivors and 20% to other dependents under 18
- Life and Disability Insurance/Benefit – Depending on which pension system an employee is a member of, disability benefits may vary. Employees who suffer a temporary disability due to a workplace injury are paid 90% of the insured person’s average daily wages for the duration of the disability (must last at least three days).
In India, there are several statutory benefits based on various industry acts.
Employees who have been with the company for at least one year must receive written notice regarding their termination. The number of employees in the organization and the reason for dismissal determine the notice period.
- Closure of establishment with at least 50 employees – 60 days of notice
- Industrial establishments with at least 300 employees – 3 months of notice
Visa/ Work Permits
All foreign nationals seeking to enter India must obtain a visa.
Some of the visa categories typically include:
- Transit visa
- Tourist visa
- Employment visa
- Business visa
- Student and research visa
- Entry (“X”) visa
- Conference visa
Japanese nationals visiting India for business, tourism, conferences, or medical treatment are also granted visas on arrival. On the other hand, Nepalese citizens do not require a visa to enter India.
India has specific requirements for issuing work permits and visas to employees assigned to work in the country, the most common is the Employment or E visa. It is valid for one year or until the end of the contract in India (up to 5 years).
Accounting standards must adhere to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which establishes the Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS). Ind AS is required for companies with a net worth of at least INR 2.5 billion, both listed and unlisted.
The standard corporate tax rate is 30% for domestic companies and 40% for international companies.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a value-added tax (VAT) levied in various nations.
The standard GST rate in India is 18%. It applies to most goods and services.
Taxes on income earned in one tax year are typically paid in the following tax year (the “assessment” year).
Typically, companies must file a final return by October 31 for financial years other than FY 2019-20, and November 30 for companies required to file a certificate on international transactions.
Failure to file a return, tax audit report, or certificate of international transactions; failure to comply with withholding tax obligations; and underreporting and misreporting may result in criminal charges.
The Information Technology Act, 2000 governs data protection and violation of personal privacy.
Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption Law
The primary anti-corruption law in India is the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Besides imprisonment for six months to 5 years, the offender is subject to a monetary fine.