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QUESTION NO.1134 PROBLEMS FACED BY INDIANS IN GULF COUNTRIES

December 28, 2017

RAJYA SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1134
TO BE ANSWERED ON 28.12.2017

PROBLEMS FACED BY INDIANS IN GULF COUNTRIES

1134. SHRI V. VIJAYASAI REDDY:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether Ministry is aware of problems being faced by Indians in Gulf countries, particularly in the last three years;

(b) whether Ministry is also aware that of about 10 lakh Indians working in countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait Qatar etc. more than 2 lakh are from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States;

(c) how Ministry is helping the Indians working in various Gulf countries in view of their pathetic living conditions; and

(d) the reasons Government is not pursuing an agreement with Gulf countries so that no Passport or Visa of any Indian workers should be taken by the employer?


ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
[GEN. (DR) V. K. SINGH (RETD)]

(a) Indian Missions/Posts in the Emigration Check Required (ECR) countries, mostly in the Middle East, from time to time report about complaints received from Indian workers, regarding non-payment of salaries and denial of legitimate labour rights and benefits such as non-issuance/renewal of residence permits, non-payment/grant of overtime allowance, weekly holidays, longer working hours, refusal to grant exit/re–entry permits for visit to India, refusal to allow the worker on final exit visa after completion of their contracts and non-provision of medical and insurance facilities etc. Incidents of confinement, abandoning of housemaids by their sponsors have also been reported.

(b) The Government maintains the data in respect of Emigration Check Required (ECR) passport holders, travelling legally to any of the 18 ECR countries for overseas employment. The total number of Indian workers emigrating to six gulf countries during the last three years was around 17.86 lakh and the total number of workers from the State of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for the same period was around 2.00 lakh.

(c) Immediately on receipt of such complaints, the same are addressed by the Indian Missions by taking them up with the concerned local government authorities for immediate resolution. The Government has taken several steps to safeguard the interests of Indian emigrants to the Gulf countries, these are:

(i) The on-line MADAD portal enables the emigrant workers and their family members to register their consular grievances on-line and track their redressal.

(ii) Grievances related to Overseas Employment in notified Emigration Check Required (ECR) countries including gulf countries, can also be logged in directly by emigrants/relatives or through the Overseas Workers Resource Centre (OWRC) on eMigrate portal. These grievances are settled by respective jurisdictional Protectors of Emigrants (PoEs) as per laid down procedures.

(iii) Missions in Gulf countries also conduct Open Houses on a regular basis where workers can seek redressal of their grievances.

(iv) A multi-lingual 24X7 Helpline of Overseas Workers Resource Centre (OWRC) in New Delhi provides information, guidance and grievance redressal on all issues and problems pertaining to overseas employment of Indian nationals.

(v) Missions in Gulf countries have also established 24x7 helplines and Toll Free help lines for the benefit of Indian workers to seek help.

(vi) An Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC) has been set up at Dubai and four more IWRCs have been approved in Sharjah (UAE), Riyadh and Jeddah (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), to provide guidance and counselling on all matters pertaining to overseas Indian workers.

(vii) Migrant Resource Centres have also been setup in Kochi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Lucknow to assist emigrants or their relatives to redress their problems/complaints regarding overseas employment.

(viii) The Missions utilise the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) to provide assistance to overseas Indian nationals in times of distress.

(ix) Suitable shelter homes have been temporarily set up to house distressed Indian nationals has been setup in Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Malaysia.

(x) Labour and Manpower Cooperation MoUs/Agreements are already in place with the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that provide the institutional framework to comprehensively discuss and review labour related issues.

(d) In accordance with the Labour and Manpower Cooperation/Agreement, Joint Working Group (JWG) meetings are held on regular basis to discuss various labour related issues including the issue of taking away of passport. Most of the GCC countries already have laws, which prohibit employers from taking away the passport from their employees.

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