Migration process to be upgraded

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, addressing a conference of heads of missions of Gulf region, said the migration process is being upgraded to ensure orderly migration and check unscrupulous agents who often dupe Indians promising greener pastures abroad.

"Within 52 weeks, we would be able to to provide a common electronic platform for all concerned in the process of migration. This system would link the e-passport system, migration system, Proctor of Emigration offices and Indian Missions abroad to provide a seamless service of migration clearance," he said.

Ravi said government has already prepared a draft of a new immigration law which will transform the migration process into a simple and transparent mechanism.

Expressing serious concern over incidents of harassment and exploitation of Indians in the Gulf region, he said the government was determined to ensure safety, security and welfare of the diaspora community.

"The safety, security and welfare of Indian workers is of primary importance. Mostly concentrated in the Gulf, they are often exploited in India and abroad. Their living conditions abroad are not very good. We have a great responsibility to address their needs and concerns," he said.

The Gulf region has been a preferred destination for Indians. As per official estimate, nearly five million workers are currently living in the Gulf region which accounts for an average of 27 per cent of the total remittance inflows to India, with major source countries being the UAE and Saudi Arabia

Ravi said Government will launch a social security net for Indian workers returning to India.

"We are going to launch a scheme which would provide for resettlement funds, insurance cover and pension provisions for emigrant Indian workers," he said.

Noting that many initiatives were taken to help the Indians abroad, he said government has set up a welfare fund in all the missions to provide relief to Indian workers in need and distress.

"One of the major problems being faced by Indian Workers in the ECR countries is that their contract conditions like wages, service conditions are changed when they land in such countries.

"In order to overcome this problem, we are initiating with the UAE government to launch a web-based attestation system of employment," Ravi said, noting that Government has taken several significant initiatives to ensure orderly movement of workers abroad and to punish those involved in illegal migration.

Talking about the new Emigration management Bill he said, it would provide for greater transparency and better regulation in the migration process while deterrent punishment has been proposed to the offenders. The draft provides for more power to police to deal with unscrupulous agents who dupe those migrating to other countries.

"Above all, it would ensure protection and welfare of Indian workers and make the migration process humane and orderly.

Besides Mission Heads of GCC countries, the two-day conference is being attended by ambassadors and high commissioners of Iraq, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.

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