NRI Achievers has, since March this year, started bringing out a segment dealing with the activities of the External Affairs ministry, and more specifically the activities undertaken by the erstwhile Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, which has since been remerged with the Foreign Ministry. Our connect with the Overseas Indian Affairs cell is all about creating a reader interface within the confines of our magazine that would bring FAQs, quality information and news to our esteemed readers. This issue carries the third such installment, where the Secretary (Overseas Indian Affairs) of the MEA, presently Dr. Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay, talks about the various proactive steps taken to make the issue of Safe and Legal Migration. Here goes …
Why has it been mandatory for Nurses to take emigration clearance?
The decision to bring nurses under the Emigration Check Required (ECR) category and take emigration clearance before proceeding for employment abroad was taken in view of reports received regarding large scale malpractices and exploitation in the recruitment of nurses especially in Kuwait. An order was accordingly issued on 12.03.2015 requiring nurses to take emigration clearance before going for overseas employment to the 18 ECR countries.
What is e-Migrate project?
With a vision ‘To transform emigration into a simple, transparent, orderly and humane process’, the e-Migrate project has become ‘go-live’ with effect from 31-3-2015. The project has been made operational in all the Missions/Posts of the ECR countries with effect from June, 2015.
Do Foreign Employers have to register on e-Migrate for recruiting workers from India?
Registration of Foreign Employer (FE) in the e-Migrate system has been made mandatory from 1st June, 2015. Since inception, 1,01,062 FEs have registered in the system as on 18-04-2017.
Has e-Migrate system made it easier to get emigration clearance?
100% paperless emigration clearance for ECR passport holders Indian workers for overseas employment at PoE offices has been started under the e-Migrate system. About 20.00 lakh emigrants have been granted emigration clearance for overseas employment during the last three years through e-Migrate. This has brought about e-governance, transparency and faster processing of Emigration Clearance. No emigrant is now required to travel to the PoE offices as EC application/processing and approval is given on-line.
What steps are being taken for Grievance redressal of Indian emigrants?
All emigrants related grievances, received in any manner, are promptly attended to through Recruiting Agents and our Missions/Posts. Grievance redressal mechanism in the e-Migrate system has been initiated during 2016 and so far, 933 grievances have been settled. Protector General of Emigrants (PGE) and ten Protectors of Emigrants (PoEs) are also holding “Open House Sessions” on all Wednesdays for Public Grievances and settlement of Emigrants’ Grievances. Recently, the MADAD and e-Migrate grievance modules have been integrated in order to bring synergy in grievance redressal.
What action does the Government take on receiving requests for repatriation of emigrants in distress?
MEA is genuinely conscious about the welfare of Indian emigrant workers and spares no efforts to help them in times of distress. About 3000 emigrants in various ECR countries have been safely rescued/repatriated or re-deployed through the registered recruitment agents without any cost to Government, during the last one year or so. On receipt of complaints/grievances, a Show Cause Notice is issued to the Recruiting Agent to quickly repatriate/rescue the emigrant within 30 days failing which punitive action under the Emigration Act 1983 is taken against the RA.
What are the other significant steps taken by the Government towards welfare of emigrants?
The following measures have been put in place for ensuring welfare and safety of emigrants:
- Agreements on labour cooperation: For protection and welfare of Indian workers in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, first agreement on Labour Co-operation for Domestic Sector Workers (DSWs) recruitment was signed on 2nd January, 2014. Thereafter, Agreement on labour cooperation for recruitment of general category of workers was signed in April, 2016.
- Safeguarding female workers: To protect and safeguard female workers from India, vide order dated 2nd August/16th September, 2016, recruitment of Indian female workers holding ECR passport and emigrating on employment visa to any of the 18 ECR countries, has been made mandatory through state Govt. owned recruiting agencies only.
- Increase in Bank Guarantee deposit: To safeguard the emigrants, the Bank Guarantee deposit by the RAs has been increased from Rs.20 Lakhs to Rs.50 Lakhs.
- Online registration/renewal: With effect from March, 2016, applications for fresh registration as Recruiting Agent (RA) and renewal of registration certificate under the Emigration Act, are being processed only online through the e-Migrate system. A total of 104 new Registration Certificates (RCs) issued and 222 RCs renewed to the Recruiting Agents (RAs) for conducting manpower business. 149 Bank Guarantees of the ex-RAs, kept as a security with the Govt. were released on expiry or cancellation of Registration Certificate. 122 permissions were granted to RAs for opening/shifting of Branch/Headquarter Offices.
- Sensitizing State Governments for safe migration: The issue of illegal of migration has been taken up with top ten labour sending States by inviting Ministers/Senior Officers in a meeting held on 9.11.2016 under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Minister of States, Ministry of External Affairs.
- Prosecution sanction against illegal agents: On receipt of requests from the State Police, 08, 11 and 42 Prosecution Sanctions were issued in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. Besides, complaints referred to the State Governments for actions are 153, 101 and 231 in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively and State Governments are periodically reporting the progress of action taken and seeking prosecution sanction where necessary.
- Show Cause Notices to RAs: 236 Show Cause Notices were issued to the RAs on receipt of complaints received from individual emigrants and the Indian Missions abroad and as a result hundreds of emigrants have been safely rescued from several ECR countries in the last 3 years.