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2nd Overseas Employers Conference, Dubai, UAE - October 27-28, 2013

The 2nd Overseas Employers Conference was organized by the Government of India, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) in association with the India Centre for Migration (ICM) and Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) at Dubai, UAE on October 27-28, 2013. The key objectives of the Conference were as under:-

  1. Discuss policy perspective of Government of India on Emigration from India.
  2. Create awareness on safe, humane and legal emigration and the steps taken by MOIA.
  3. Present details of various schemes / initiatives of MOIA and State Governments in skilled development.
  4. Establish sustainable linkages with employers from overseas and certification agencies.
  5. Understand emerging challenges in qualifications systems in gulf and other regions.

At the invitation of the above Ministry, the Government of Goa had deputed a delegation led by Dr. Wilfred Menezes Mesquita, Commissioner for NRI Affairs and comprising of Shri B. Vijayan, Chief Secretary and Shri U. D. Kamat, Director for NRI Affairs to Dubai to participate in the above Conference.

The Conference which was inaugurated by Shri Vayalar Ravi, Hon. Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, was attended by the Ambassadors of India to GCC Countries, namely UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, senior Officials from the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, leading executives of companies employing the Indian work force in GCC countries and other stakeholders and service providers. Apart from Goa, the other States which actively participated in the Conference were Kerala, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.

The thrust of this Conference was to discuss the policies of the Government of India on Emigration from India vis--vis the labour agreements entered into by the Government of India with GCC countries for safe and legal migration of human capital. The Conference also provided opportunities to the participating State Governments to spell out the problems faced by the expatriates gainfully employed in GCC countries and the initiatives taken by them to impart training in skill up-gradation and pre-departure orientation programmes to prospective job seekers from their States.

On behalf of the Government of Goa, the following issues were highlighted at this Conference :
  1. That the State Level Committee headed by the Commissioner for NRI Affairs has been regularly carrying out awareness campaigns through print and electronic media on the advantages of legal migration and the risks involved in illegal or irregular migration for the benefit and guidance of the job seekers to overseas countries, broadcast / telecast in local news channels and FM Radio Stations to sensitize the general public and circulation of "Do's and Don'ts for Indian workers" through Village Panchayats and Municipal Councils as well as Schools and Colleges as also religious institutions in order to create such awareness at the grass root level.

  2. That the State Government has been regularly appealing to the Editors of newspapers to adhere to the guidelines issued by the Press Council of India advising them not to accept the advertisements for Overseas jobs from companies or individuals for publication unless and until they disclose the detailed particulars of Certificate of Registration obtained from the protector General of Emigrants as recruiting agents or the permit numbers of the foreign employers involved in such recruitment.

  3. That the NRI Commission has been constantly monitoring complaints which are reported or brought to the notice of the State Government by the innocent jobseekers who often fall prey and are duped or fleeced on the promise of jobs abroad by unauthorized recruiting agents and other unscrupulous elements. Later, the Goa delegation met Mr. R. Buhril, Protector General of Emigrants and Mr. Iqbal Singh Bains, Joint Secretary incharge of Emigration Policies in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs on the sidelines of the Conference and requested them to establish in Goa a mechanism under the direct control of Protector of Emigrants to deal with unauthorized recruiting agents and other unscrupulous elements who are involved in duping and fleecing the job seekers.

  4. That the registered Recruiting Agents who are having their establishments outside Goa often advertise in local newspapers for spot interviews in Goa quoting permission obtained from the Protector of Emigrants. However, more often than not, such interviews are conducted in the premises of companies which are operating illegally, thereby distinctly giving the impression that such companies are legal and authorized.

  5. That the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs may consider amending the Emigration Act, 1983 so as to protect the job seekers who often fall prey to job offers featuring on the websites of companies which are not registered with the Protector General of Emigrants, so also to unsolicited emails enticing the recipients with job offers in countries like UK, Canada, etc by depositing money in particular bank accounts which are then closed and thereby they are duped and fleeced.

  6. That although Overseas Employers initially promised to provide free medical facility to the workers, however, when actually the workers fall sick and need medical attention, the employers shirk their responsibilities and consequently the workers are made to pay for the treatment to the doctors or the hospitals.

  7. That, quite often, the Overseas Employers do not honour the salary committed initially by the Recruiting Agents in India before departure of workers, and once they have joined, hands over a contract which invariably contain lesser salary than promised by the Recruiting Agent in India, thereby leaving the workers badly let down and disillusioned.

  8. That the Overseas Employers keep the passports of the workers in their custody so as to deter the workers from taking employment elsewhere and hence Indian Missions may consider setting up of help desks where the workers faced with difficulties can register their complaints against the employers for appropriate redressal.

The issues raised and the concerns voiced by Dr. Wilfred Menezes Mesquita, Commissioner for NRI Affairs as above in the interest of the workers from India in general and Goa in particular, gainfully employed in GCC countries were well appreciated by the Indian Ambassadors to these countries and senior officials from the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, and they have promised to address them immediately.