Friday, April 04, 2008

India to Amend its Emigration Act

By Devirupa Mitra

From Thaindian:

NEW DELHI, India- Two years in the making, a proposed amendment to the Emigration Act 1983 - aimed at helping Indian workers in foreign countries - is now in the final stages.

“We have completed all the inter-ministerial consultations. The amendment is now in its final stages,” said a senior official in the ministry of overseas Indian affairs.

The amendment, which will tighten the noose on human trafficking, is being carried out in the wake of frequent reports about Indian workers facing problems abroad.

In a recent incident, Indian workers struck work at a US shipyard over alleged non-fulfilment of employment commitments to get a green card. Two recruiting agents were penalised when their registration certificate was suspended.

The official said the draft was ready to go for a final scrutiny to the law ministry. “Once cleared, we hope to get the amendment ready for approval by the cabinet and place it before parliament by June,” said the official. Amendments to the 25-year-old legislation covering the exporting of manpower, especially for blue-collar jobs, have been in the pipeline for some time.

The importance of a legal and clean migration channel has become a priority, with Indians working abroad sending the highest amount of remittances - nearly $27 billion - among other national immigrant groups.

The key feature of the amendments will be to prevent human trafficking through more stringent penalties for recruiting agents who violate rules and giving the power of enforcement to the ministry.

“For the first time, there will be a specific provision for human trafficking,” he said. The amended act’s aim is to “transform immigration into a humane, orderly and efficient process”, besides discouraging illegal migration practices.

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