India to provide legal, financial aid to 'distressed' workers in UAE
Abu Dhabi - Revised ICWF guidelines will come into effect from September 1; consular rates revised
Published: Fri 25 Aug 2017, 4:48 PM
The ambit of Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) has been expanded to provide more financial assistance to blue-collared workers and those in distress, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri said on Thursday.
The revised ICWF guidelines will come into effect from September 1 and from there onwards the embassy will be able to provide legal assistance to those in distress.
The ambassador noted such facility will help those who have been laid off and fighting for pending salaries and compensation. The embassy will provide legal resources in their fight for justice on "means tested basis".
Referring to the job losses in the current market, the ambassador said the embassy will not leave any Indian at the mercy of an employer.
"While we are committed to do what we must do, the primary responsibility is with the employer. We shouldn't create a situation where the employer is able to walk away from his responsibilities on salaries and other contractual obligations," Suri said.
The beneficiaries of legal assistance also includes those who have committed minor crimes, offences or have been falsely implicated by their employer and put in jails; fishermen, seamen, sailors ,students in distress; and Indian women abandoned/cheated/abused by their NRI/PIO or foreign spouses (up to seven years after their marriage).
The ambassador pointed out that ICWF isn't a grant from the Indian government but is sourced from the service charges collected for various consular services.
The rates for the same are revised. Now, rates for visa and OCI cards are $3, passport $2, attestation of employment documents $2 and attestation of other documents and other miscellaneous consular services, other than in death cases at $2.
Also, subsistence allowance for distressed nationals has been raised to a maximum of 60 days.
Other facilities include, providing one-way air ticket to deserving stranded Indians, on a means tested basis, providing two-way air fare to a doctor/an attendant to accompany the primary beneficiary in case of any disability, on recommendation of the hospital.
The fund will also cover expenditure incurred on:
- Incidentals and airlifting of mortal remains of deceased nationals to India or for local cremation, where the employer is unable or unwilling to do so and the family is unable to meet the cost, for transportation of mortal remains to India
- Payment of small fines for illegal stay where prima facie the worker is not at fault, payment of penalties in respect of Indian nationals in jails/detention centres for minor offences/crimes (to enable their repatriation)
- Providing emergency medical care to deserving overseas Indians, on a means tested basis, who are involved in an accident (with serious life-threatening injuries), have life-threatening medical conditions or suffer a serious disability, if the employer/sponsor is unwilling to meet the expenses and the family is unable to meet the cost.
The upper limit of medical assistance has been fixed as $5,000 per case.
The fund can also be utilised for community activities and for improving consular activities. All the said assistance goes into the passport of the beneficiary.
"An endorsement shall be made in passport and PRIDE - centralised database - of beneficiaries," Suri added.
Consular service rates revised- The ambassador pointed out that ICWF isn't a grant from the Indian government but is sourced from the service charges collected for various consular services.
- The rate for the services, which was Dh6, has also been revised. From now, rates for visa and OCI cards will be $3 (Dh11), passport $2 (Dh8), attestation of employment documents $2 (Dh8) and attestation of other documents and other miscellaneous consular services, other than in death cases at $2 (Dh8).
- The ambassador said, on an average "Rs5 crore (Rs50 million) comes into the kitty" annually through service charges - the amount that is used for welfare of workers and those in distress.