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New Overseas Indian Card to replace OCI, PIO

Canadians of Indian origin will have a new Overseas Indian Card "within a couple of months", Dr A. Didar Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, told Focus.The Overseas Indian Card will offer the benefits of both the existing PIO (Person of Indian Origin) and the OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cards, the official said.Singh explained the PIO and OCI cards were being merged into this new card since people of Indian origin all over the world were complaining these were creating confusion for cardholders.The new OIC will be a one-time purchase and will offer the holder a lifetime visa to India, rights to employment, study, etc. "And unlike the US Green Card, there is no need for (mandatory) residency," he added.Details about how much the new OIC will cost, documentation requirements etc are expected to be rolled out in due course.Emergency fundEarlier addressing journalists to give details about the upcoming mini Pravasi Bandhu Divas scheduled to be held in Toronto June 9-10, Singh said that as part of India's efforts to more closely engage its diaspora, an Indian Community Welfare Fund is also being created to help overseas Indians facing emergencies.Singh pointed out India recently repatriated some 15,000 Indians from Libya. The emergency fund could come in handy during such situations, he noted.It could also come in handy helping Gulf workers, he said. More than 6 million Indians work in the GCC.

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