Immigration is the international movement of people into a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship in order to settle or reside there, especially as permanent residents or naturalized citizens, or to take-up employment as a migrant worker or temporarily as a foreign worker.
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Immigration law refers to the national statutes and regulations which govern immigration into and deportation from a country. Immigration laws vary around the world according to their social and political conditions.
Countries frequently maintain laws which regulate both the rights of entry and exit as well as internal rights, such as the duration of stay, freedom of movement, and the right to participate in commerce or government. Most countries require a visa prior to arrival into India.
The main challenge for immigrants, however, is to acquire citizenship of the host country and avail the fundamental rights to the country they have migrated to.
These issues are usually addressed by specifically formulated laws and policies for immigrants that lay out the process and restrictions for getting the citizenship. But as far as the Indian subcontinent is concerned, the immigration laws are governed by the provisions of the Constitution of India.
Articles 5 to 11 in Part-II of the Constitution deals with citizenship and it defines a citizen as a person of Indian domicile or someone with an Indian lineage in the family. Article 10 deals with the continuance of foreigners as Indian citizens, subject to any laws enacted thereafter by the legislature.
The Indian constitution only recognizes single citizenship throughout the country and does not support dual citizenship. It also declares that a foreign citizen can acquire Indian citizenship through the process of Naturalization (ordinarily residing in India for 14 years) and registration of foreigners with the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Officer) or FRO (Foreigners Registration Officer).
The Indian law follows jus sanguinis (citizenship by blood) as opposed to jus soli (citizenship by birth). The PIO (person of Indian origin) scheme was established to grant visas to those Indians who resided in foreign countries. It was, however, joined with the OCI (overseas citizen of India) scheme to provide lifelong visas to these Indians.
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