Over 58,000 Indian workers have been given emigration clearance by the government in the last two years for employment in the Gulf countries.
Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh also said the government has received complaints from Indian workers in Saudi Arabia about ill treatment by their employers.
“The number of Indian migrant domestic workers who have been given emigration clearance for recruitment in Gulf countries since September 2014 till date is 58,163,” he said. Singh said the Indian Missions in Bahrain and United Arab Emirates have received four complaints each of physical abuse and harassment of migrant domestic workers.
The minister said complaints received by the missions are taken up with the local authorities. Listing steps taken to regulate migration, he said age restriction of 30 years has been made mandatory in respect of all ECR passport holders except nurses emigrating to ECR (Emigration Check Required) countries.
He also said, since August the government has made emigration clearance of all female workers having ECR passports mandatory for overseas employment.
According to the Emigration Act, 1983, Emigration Check Required (ECR) categories of Indian-passport holders need to obtain Emigration Clearance from the office of Protector of Emigrants (POE) for going to 18 countries which are mostly in Gulf region.
To a separate question, he said total number of overseas Indians residing in 207 countries was 31.73 million out of which 13.45 million are NRIs and 17.85 million are Persons of Indian Origin. Singh said the government has received a total of 1,121 complaints against recruiting agents between 2012 to December 5 this year out of which 973 wre referred to state governments for action.
Answering a question on difficulties being faced by divorced or separated women while applying for passport for their children, Singh said it is not mandatory for the applicant to provide names of both the mother and the father in the application form.
He said in case of passport for minors, Annexure H is required to be signed and submitted on plain paper by both the parents or the guardian. However, if consent of one of the parents is not available, then an affidavit sworn before a judicial magistrate has to be submitted.