EmploymentOverseas

eMigrate : India to lose over half a million gulf jobs

Ministry of External affairs

By Syed Zubair Ahmad,

New Delhi: India has already lost almost half a million jobs in the rich-oil gulf countries making a big hole in foreign remittances while one more Lakh job visas are in jeopardy!

ReasonThe Ministry of Overseas Indians  Affairs (MOIA) has introduced a new emigration regime for Indian job-seekers in abroad that is based on ill-founded premise and assumptions because of this,  gulf employers are turning towards neighbouring countries Pakistan, Sri Lanka etc for recruitment. However, despite repeated contact with the ministry officials have failed to yield any result as their terse reply is: “we are looking into the matter.

It seems that the ministry’s new eMigrate System has virtually made the slogan “Achhe din anne wale hain” (Good days are coming) a butt of joke as Indians are losing lucrative gulf jobs in thousands on daily basis whereas the government has failed to create new employment in the country.

During the electioneering, PM Modi, who was the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, used to say that if BJP  comes to power; it will create millions of jobs for the countrymen. It is an irony of sorts on the one side the present government is yet to fulfill this promise, on other side; it put break on the foreign recruitments under the excuse of safeguarding Indian workers’ interest.

It is to be mentioned here that the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), Government of India, has recently rolled out its eMigrate Project to all the POE offices without taking its adverse fallouts and implications into consideration. As a result, over half a million job opportunities from India have already been lost to other neighboring nations like Bangladesh and Pakistan and Sri Lanka where there is no such complicated formalities like eMigrate System or Minimum Referral Wages. Furthermore, if this policy won’t change, then India will lose to the tune of USD 30 billion annually in the form of foreign remittance which is one of the major sources of strengthening our vibrating economy. And already one Lac jobs are at immediate risk.

Gulf-based employers are generally not tech-savvy to fulfill such cumbersome formalities and emigration process. Another major reasons for shifting the job visa to other nations is the newly introduced Minimum Referral Wages (MRW) that has been increased form SR 800 to 1500 (an increase of more than 100 percent). Although the condition of Minimum Referral Wages is not  mandatory, yet it is being considered as mandatory  by the Indian Missions in GCC which is unnecessarily creating problems for the employers.

In this connection, a circular issued by Mr Bikash R Mahto, an undersecretary in MOIA, dated May 21, 2015   states “It may be noted that with effect from 01/07/2015 individual Indian workers shall be permitted to approach the POE offices for emigration clearance only when the demand has been approved online along with the specific employment contract”.

Because of such un-pragmatic, un-reasonable conditions and restrictions imposed by the MOIA on foreign employers for hiring menial job workers from India, particularly the above circular, at least one Lac jobs are at immediate at risk. The one lac job visas had been issued during last three months which will expire in next few months due to non-compliance of the formalities by the employers as the job visa has generally three months validity.  It is also to be noted that most of the visas had been issued before the issuance of this circular.

Its also reported in media the state of Qatar has already diverted two Lacs visa to Pakistan  because  of eMigrate system and its feared that other gulf countries may follow suit.

If immediate corrective steps are not taken, India will lose huge foreign remittances.

As media reports suggest that Qatar is eyeing to hire 200,000 Pakistani workers for its FIFA (Football) world cup projects that will be held in 2022. It will be a great loss to India because of this new emigration regulation.

India gets the highest amount of remittances in the world at roughly $70 billion, almost three times the amount of FDI that comes into the country. By far the largest amount comes from the Gulf countries -Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait -which sent a combined $32.7 billion, almost half of all remittances received. Below is the foreign remittances data as compiled by the World Bank:

PRIVATE REMITTANCES (2001 TO 2013) Year in US $ billion

  • 2001                                    14.27
  • 2002                                   15.73
  • 2003                                   20.99
  • 2004                                     18.7
  • 2005                                    22.12
  • 2006                                    28.33
  • 2007                                    37.21
  • 2008                                    49.97
  • 2009                                     49.20
  • 2010                                     53.48
  • 2011                                     63.01
  • 2012                                     67.25
  • 2013                                      71.00

Source: World Bank Annual remittances data updated as on October 2013

So, one can easily imagine how much money our country will lose if this new policy in the name of protecting the interest of  Indian workers doing jobs in abroad is not reviewed. As the MOIA has made it mandatory that all emigration clearances will be granted through eMigrate system only.

There has been continuous increase in the number of Indian workers who opt for jobs in GCC countries. Given below is the data of last five years.

EMIGRATION FOR EMPLOYMENT DURING LAST TEN YEARS

YEAR                       NO OF WORKERS

  • 2002                         368000
  • 2003                         466000
  • 2004                         475000
  • 2005                         549000
  • 2006                         677000
  • 2010                         641355
  • 2011                          626565
  • 2012                          747041
  • 2013                          816655
  • 2014                         804878

Source Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs

The GCC countries play a major role in terms of adding remittance to the Indian economy and providing employment to Indian nationals.

Even the Ministry’s own data show that there are about five million overseas Indian workers all over the world. Of these, more than 90% of these workers are in the Gulf countries and Southeast Asia. During 2007 approximately 8.09 lakh workers migrated from India after due emigration clearance, out of these approximately 3.12 lakh, 1.95 lakh, 95,000, 88,000 and 48,000 workers went to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait respectively.

 

Sushma Swaraj, Hon’ble Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Chairs the Fourth Board Meeting of India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians, on 23 May 2015 in Delhi.Photo credit MOIA.
Sushma Swaraj, Hon’ble Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Chairs the Fourth Board Meeting of India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians, on 23 May 2015 in Delhi.Photo credit MOIA.

Major outflow of emigrant workers in the last few years from India has been to the Gulf countries where about four million workers are estimated to be employed. A vast majority of migrants to the Middle East, including Gulf countries are semi-skilled and unskilled workers and most of them are temporary migrants who return to India after expiry of their contractual employment. There has been a consistent and steady increase in the number of persons emigrating for employment abroad from the year 2003 onwards. The number of emigration clearances granted by the eight offices of the Protector of Emigrants has increased from 4.66 lakh in 2003 to 8.09 lakh in 2014.

U.A.E. is the main destination for Indian workers followed by Saudi Arabia. Outside the Gulf region, the intake of Indian manpower by Malaysia has shown a significant and consistent increase till 2005. There is considerable decline noticed in 2006 and 2007. Employment for Indian workers in these countries holds a great potential.

The amount of remittance sent to India as well as number of number of jobs for Indians in Gulf both are constantly increasing. It is expected the annual remittance would grow at a steady pace and go up to 100 billion USD by 2020.

Approximately 14, 00000 workers go to GCC countries annually. In last 20 years there had been less than one percent complaint from the workers about their employers’. The increasing number of workers going to gulf countries is a proof that the employers are generally fair in their dealing with the employees.

Back at home our government is still not able to implement the minimum wages in the private sector, then how can the Ministry expect that foreign private employers will follow its wage rules and regulations.

The Indian workers, who happily seek jobs in Gulf, are generally un-skilled, semi-skilled or skilled and they willingly accept the salary offered by foreign employers as it is a lucrative deal for them because one cannot earn so much money by doing the same job in India.

Talking to Muslim Mirror, Indian recruitment agents said they have contacted a host of concerned officials of MOIA including Mr T K Manoj Kumar (Protector General of Emigrants and Join Secretary EP) and tried to talk them this urgent matter but failed to get any positive response.  “All they (officials) could say ‘we are trying to solve this problem”.

‘We are almost sitting idle due to the implementation of eMigrate  System . The gulf employers are facing many problems because they are not  ‘net savvy ‘ and they don’t want the condition of Minimum Referral Wages  so  they are diverting the visa to other neighboring countries . No visa had been issued since last two months and thousands of visa had already been expired’ saidMr. Ramesh Mansharamani (President of Export Promotion Council for Manpower) while talking to Muslim Mirror. I also met secretary of the Ministry  Mr. Anil Aggarwal some two months back and submitted a memorandum and tried to impress upon the seriousness of the problem steamed out from the new emigration regime but no to avail, he added.

It is also be worth mentioning here that Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have been the leading sourcing states. Therefore, the CMs of these states should take up the matter with the Central Government.

It is a well known fact that unemployment leads to crime and law and order problems and in our country rate of unemployment is very high. However, by this circular, the Ministry of Oversees Indians Affairs has thrown an unnecessary spanner in the potential employment El Dorado i.e. Gulf Countries.

Courtesy :Muslim Mirror

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