Touts must pay for rescuing Indian they illegally send abroad to work: MEA

Touts must pay for rescuing Indian they illegally send abroad to work: MEA

The Ministry of External Affairs may no longer bring back home any Indian, who would land in trouble after illegally migrating to a foreign country unless the state government concerned lodges FIR against the agent who sent him overseas unlawfully.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday told ministers and officials of several state governments that her ministry would abide by a four-point guideline, while rescuing or repatriating Indian, who would land in trouble after going to a foreign nation in search of livelihood.

She made it clear that in case an Indian citizen illegally traveled to a foreign country and landed in trouble, the MEA would rescue him once the government of the state he hailed from would lodge an FIR with the police against the agent who sent him overseas unlawfully. She stressed that the cost of bringing the illegal migrant home would also be recovered from the agent, the MEA stated in a press release.

Swaraj had a meeting with the chief minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar, 12 ministers from as many states and 31 senior officials of 25 states.

She stressed on the need of curbing the malpractices perpetrated by unregistered agents, who dispatch innocent people abroad on false pretext and assurances of overseas employment and then abandon them.

"These helpless victims (of fraud recruitment agents) are left in the lurch in a foreign land, penniless and the Indian Government is hard pressed to secure their rescue and repatriation," the MEA quoted her saying in the press-release issued after the meeting.

She noted that since the agents worked from the jurisdiction of the states and law and order was a state subject, it was incumbent on the state governments to take stringent and punitive action against the unscrupulous among them.

Swaraj is known for helping a large number of Indian, who got in touch with her on Twitter after landing in trouble in foreign nations.

Several Indian, who legally and illegally traveled to foreign nations in search of livelihood, also got in touch with her through social media and she made India's high commissions or embassies in respective countries rescue and repatriate many of them. The MEA often had to bear the expenses for repatriating such distressed citizens of India.

The MEA had in 2016 and 2017 referred to the state governments altogether 195 and 231 complaints respectively against fraud recruitment agencies, who had cheated unsuspecting people of the country and sent them to foreign nations illegally on the pretext of overseas employment. Altogether 220 such complaints were referred to the State Governments till June 30, 2017.

Swaraj, however, made it clear on Wednesday that the Union Government would bear the expenses for repatriation of Indian migrants from a foreign country in case that country got engaged in a war or hit by a natural calamity.

The Government would also bear the expenses in case of closure of the foreign companies, which the legally migrated citizens of India had been working for.

"If a person goes illegally (to a foreign country) in the second instance, the cost (of bringing him back) would be recovered from the person and his passport would be suspended for five years," the MEA quoted Swaraj telling the ministers and officials of the state governments.

She also requested the state governments to launch a media campaign to promote safe and legal migration and ensure that the potential migrants are adequately skilled.

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