Protection of emigrants against exploitation and abuse is not possible in the absence of commitment of the Government of the host country. To secure such commitment, India signed labor agreements with Jordan and Qatar in 1980s. However, no further progress
was made in this direction for many years.
After its creation in 2004, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs made concerted efforts to enter into Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the major labor receiving countries for bilateral cooperation towards protection and welfare of our emigrants.
The MOU with UAE was signed on 13th December 2006 and with Kuwait in April 2007. An additional protocol to the existing labor agreement between India & Qatar was signed in New Delhi on 20th November 2007 to address mutual concerns. MoU with Oman was signed
during the Prime Minister’s visit to Oman on 8th November, 2008. MOU with Malaysia was signed on 3rd January, 2009.. A similar MoU with Bahrain has been finalised and will be signed soon. Efforts are being made to negotiate MOUs with Saudi Arabia and Yemen
also. The following broad principles have been built into the MOUs:
- Declaration of mutual intent to enhance employment opportunities and for bilateral cooperation in protection and welfare of workers.
- The host country to take measures for protection and welfare of the workers in unorganized sector.
- Statement of the broad procedure that the foreign employer shall follow to recruit Indian workers.
- The recruitment and terms of employment to be in conformity of the laws of both the countries
- A Joint Working Group to be constituted to ensure implementation of the MOU and to meet regularly to find solutions to bilateral labor problems.
The Ministry proposes to sign MOUs with important receiving countries of the Central and Eastern Europe and Asia to forge bilateral partnerships to expand the overseas employment market for Indian workers particularly for the skilled category. We are already
in talks with Poland and have also sent a draft MOU to South Korea. Similar MOUs will be pursued with some other labor receiving countries in Europe and South East Asia.