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Measures to address Overseas Indian Workers’ issues

Indian workers emigrate for seeking employment in all categories of work ranging from low skilled to high skilled professional jobs.  Some instances of complaints of diverse nature are received in the missions which relate to ill-treatment and harassment, non payment of agreed salaries/dues, contractual violations, refusal of leave or exit/re-entry permits, withholding of passports etc. Data is available only for ECR (Emigration Clearance Required) category of workers going abroad.  This category includes those workers who have not passed class 10 level school examinations and are emigrating to one of 17 ECR notified countries for employment.



Apart from taking up the matter through Indian Missions from time to time the Government has taken several steps to address the issue of Indian emigrants, which include the following: -
(i)      Nation-wide awareness campaigns through the media to educate intending emigrants about legal emigration procedures, the risk of illegal migration and precautions to be taken during emigration.
(ii)     The Government has established an Overseas Workers Resource Centre (OWRC) which is a 24 hour telephone helpline in eight languages to provide authentic information to emigrants as well as intending emigrants on all aspects of emigration.
(iii)     The Ministry revised the Emigration (Amendment) Rules 2009 w.e.f 9th July, 2009 revising the eligibility criteria for Recruiting Agents (RAs).
(iv)  In case, the involvement of a recruiting agent is reported then action under Emigration Act, 1983 is taken.  Blacklisting of recalcitrant employers is also resorted to.
(v) Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana (PBBY) is a compulsory Insurance Scheme for protection of emigrant workers.
(vi) The Pension and Life Insurance Fund has been launched on a pilot basis and is being introduced on an all-India basis in 2012-13.
(vii) The Government has established Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) in all Indian Missions to provide onsite support to the emigrants, in distressed. 
(viii) Government has established an Indian Workers’ Resource Centre (IWRC) at Dubai (UAE).
    (ix)      The Government has signed MOUs with seven major labour receiving countries to lay down the framework for bilateral cooperation for the protection and welfare of workers.  Besides, Government has also signed and operationalised Social Security Agreements (SSAs) with eight countries.

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