Indian expat groups miss deadline for proposals on new immigration bill

 

Indian expat groups miss deadline for proposals on new immigration bill

Abu Dhabi - The new draft bill is slated to replace the Immigration Act of 1983.

by Anjana Sankar

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Published: Sun 20 Jan 2019, 9:14 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Jan 2019, 12:59 PM

It was a missed opportunity for many Indian organisations in the UAE as the deadline to suggest changes to India's new draft Immigration Act ends today. The new draft bill is slated to replace the Immigration Act of 1983.
The government of India had invited public feedback for the new draft law that proposes, among other things, mandatory registration of Indians going abroad for work; setting up of an Emigration Management Authority to ensure the welfare and protection of emigrants; and strict regulations and penalties to prevent illegal recruitment, exploitation and human trafficking.
AK Beeran Kutty, president of Kerala Social Centre (KSC), said he came to know about the draft bill just three days ago. "The government should have circulated it through official channels and diplomatic missions. None of us even knew about the tweet put out by the Ministry of External Affairs seeking comments. I think we lost an opportunity to study the draft bill carefully and raise our concerns."
President of India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) Ramesh Panicker aired similar concerns and said: "Not everybody is on Twitter. An important draft bill like this should have been made public through official channels. We got the circular from the embassy just two days ago. Though I have circulated it among our members, there wasn't enough time," said Panicker.
"I hope the government will postpone the deadline and allot more time for the diaspora to give their feedback," said the ISC president. He added that he would raise the issue at the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which will begin in Varanasi on January 21.
Panicker said it's about time that the outdated 1983 act be replaced. "A quick glance at the salient features of the new draft bill would tell you that it is comprehensive and has tighter regulations to protect the migrant workers.
The only concern is the mandatory registration of Indians going abroad for work. But if done through a digital platform, it should not be a hassle."
Bindu Suresh Chettur, a lawyer based in Dubai, said she hoped the government would extend the deadline. "It is an important bill that affects the diaspora, and hence expat organisations should have the chance to get involved."
anjana@khaleejtimes.com

Anjana Sankar

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