Thursday, August 11, 2022

Between June 2020-December 2021, 4,23,559 Indians returned from ECR countries

  • 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

  • The number of people who left India to work in the six Gulf countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, between June 2020 and December 2021, is 1,41,172

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A total of 4,23,559 Indian migrant workers returned from ECR countries during the Covid pandemic between June 2020 to December 2021, with more than half of them from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to the government, reported PTI. The information was given in the Rajya Sabha on July 21. 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.

Indian Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, in a written reply, pointed out that the number of Indian migrant workers returning from the ECR countries, between June 2020 to December 2021, as per records available in the eMigrate system was 4,23,559.

The Indian migrant workers returning from the ECR countries between June 2020 to December 2021 included 1,52,126 from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 1,18,064 from Saudi Arabia, 51,206 from Kuwait, 46,003 from Oman and 32,361 from Qatar.

“17,848 labour complaints were received by Indian Missions and Posts from Indian workers outside the country that included non-payment of wages or salaries between March 2020 and December 2021.”

— V Muraleedharan, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs

The minister said the government’s priority was to ensure mitigation of the the effects of the pandemic on Indian workers in terms of loss of employment. “To that end, the ministry and all our Missions in the Gulf were continuously engaged with the government of the Gulf nations to maintain the workers, ensure their welfare and facilitate financial payments due to them,” Muraleedharan said.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Aviation facilitated the safe repatriation of citizens stranded abroad to India during the COVID-19 pandemic time through the Vande Bharat Missions (VBM), he said.

The Government of India also launched the Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support (SWADES) portal as a joint initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), the Ministry of Civil Aviation, and the MEA. It was meant to create a database of returning citizens based on their skill sets and experience, who had lost their jobs and were stuck overseas and had returned to India through the VBM, he said.

While a large number of Indian workers, particularly in the Gulf, returned to India due to Covid, the economic recovery in that region had seen a return by many of them, Muraleedharan said. According to the eMigrate portal, a total of 4,16,024 Emigration Clearance (EC) were issued for ECR countries during the period January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022, he said.

The number of people who left India to work in the six Gulf countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, between June 2020 and December 2021, is 1,41,172.

To another question, Muraleedharan said 17,848 labour complaints were received by Indian Missions and Posts from Indian workers outside the country that included non-payment of wages or salaries between March 2020 and December 2021.

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