India move to protect its workers abroad

DUBAI — The Indian government has decided to introduce a new rule under which companies have to attest employment offer letters with the respective embassies and consulates when labourers, who need an emigration clearance to work abroad, are hired.

By Riyasbabu

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Published: Tue 25 Oct 2005, 10:35 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:59 PM

The new rule aims at curbing malpractices by recruiting agencies and companies. It will come into effect from December 31 this year, a top official in India disclosed to your favourite No.1 newspaper Khaleej Times yesterday.

Speaking on telephone from Delhi, Protector-General of Emigrants, Government of India, R. K. Singh revealed that this is a move to safeguard the rights of Indian labourers abroad, especially in the Gulf region including UAE, where labourers are now frequently protesting against their employers. “Delhi is keen on solving the issues of Indian workers, and that is the reason we have decided to implement a new rule in which the companies have to obtain clearance with the Indian missions in their country when they hire unskilled labourers, skilled labourers, and semi-skilled labourers.”

He made it clear that this law will not be applicable to professional workers, as the Indian government has excluded professionals from emigration clearance. “As far as professional workers are concerned, they are capable of solving their problems themselves, so there is no need to include them in this category,” he added.

He also disclosed that the Indian government is planning to introduce a ‘Smart Card’ for the labourers who need emigration clearance. “We have already submitted the proposals to the government and are waiting for approval. We hope the decision will come soon,” he said, explaining that the card will record all the details of labourers which will help them — when they deal with Indian missions in countries where they work — to speed up the process of clearing their documents. “We hope that we can introduce the smart cards as early as possible. We can’t tell an exact date of introduction. But it will be soon,” he added.

Indian Ambassador in UAE, C. M. Bhandari welcomed the move, saying it was a positive move which will help labourers against humiliations. “We have always been informing Delhi about the way we deal with the problems of labourers here. Once this rule gets introduced, the embassy can act more effectively. The new rule ensures the labourers greater job security and enables them to know about the status of the company where they are going to work,” he told Khaleej Times.

However, the new law evoked mixed reactions from companies operating in the UAE. “It is a good move for companies who respect the rights of labourers. The workers would feel more secure with this new law, and there is a chance to get skilled and efficient labour force which is not coming here due to reasons of job insecurity,” said Gigi Kumar, the Managing Director of Dubai Electro Mechanical Company.

But another company official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that it is not practical to go each time to the embassy or consulate with an employment letter for clearance. “It will increase the hassle of getting a visa and consume more time, which is not good.”

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