Fact Check: Is there a drop in number of Indians working in Oman?

DATE: 18-Jan-2019 Reported By: The Arabian Stories

What does it mean when statistics say that there is a dip of 65 per cent in the number of Indians migrating from India to Oman between 2010 and 2018?

Does the statistics portray the full picture? Definitely not. And if we don’t feel that, why is it so? Read the explainer and fact check from The Arabian Stories.

Misleading Report?
A report by a leading English daily claim that the statistics on eMigrate portal reveals that the number of Indians coming to Oman for work using the e-migrate portal has dwindled significantly since 2010, when 105,513 Indian workers came to Oman, compared to just 36,037 in 2018, reflecting a drop of 65.84 per cent during that time.
No eMigrate
However, even though we don’t dispute on the number, the fact is that there was no eMigrate system in 2010 as reported by the daily.
The eMigrate system was set up only in 2015 by the current the Indian government to ensure fair migration.

So, the numbers of Indians migrating to Oman and other countries in 2010 uploaded on the current eMigrate portal has been sourced from immigration bureau. Or in other words, from the immigration counters at the airports in India. As the newspaper reports, can someone use a system which was not online? The answer is a big No.

What is eMigrate
Set up in 2015, eMigrate project is a transformational initiative of the Overseas Employment Division of MEA, India, to automate the current emigration processes and eco-system.

The ministry has undertaken this transformational e-governance programme with a vision to transform emigration into a simple, transparent, orderly and humane process. The eMigrate system fully automates the operations of offices of Protector of Emigrants (PoE) and Protector General of Emigrants (PGoE).

Also, all key stakeholders in the emigration lifecycle like Indian Missions, PGoE, PoE, Employers, Project Exporter, Recruiting Agents, Emigrants and Insurance Agencies are electronically linked on a common platform.

eMigrate Mandatory?
Yes, but not for all. eMigrate is mandatory for Indians who migrate to 18 Emigration Clearance Required (ECR) countries who are holding ECR passports.

The 18 ECR countries are United Arab Emirates (UAE), The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria, Lebanon, Thailand, Iraq (emigration banned). However, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (Emigration Policy Division) have allowed ECR passport holders traveling abroad for purposes others than employment to leave the country on production of valid passport, valid visa and return ticket at the immigration counters at international airports in India w.e.f. 1st October 2007.

Who fall in ECR category?
As per the Emigration Act, 1983, Emigration Check Required (ECR) categories of Indian passport holders, are those who have not passed Class 10. And these are the people who have to obtain “Emigration Clearance” from the office of Protector of Emigrants (POE), Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs for going to the above said 18 countries.

Two Passports
If the Regional Passport Officer has issued Indian passport either with endorsement of “Emigration Check Required” for those who have not passed Class 10, then it is called ECR passport. And for those who have passed Class 10 will get a no endorsement of “Emigration Check Required” in the passport. Passports are same. But the ECR passport will have a special stamp inside. Protector of Emigrant clearance is required only when there is “Emigration Check Required” endorsement in the passport.

How is ECR and eMigrate linked?
Only those who hold ECR passport and those who want to migrate to 18 ECR countries have to go through eMigrate online system. We (India government) fail to capture the data because it is not mandatory for ECNR passport holders (Class 10 pass) to register or use eMigrate system, 
or in other words, those who are Class 10 pass, holding ECNR passport, don’t have to go through eMigrate online system.


Not a full picture!
So, data of Indians migrating captured by the eMigrate system doesn’t give a full picture. It gives us the data of only those who migrate to Oman and other 17 countries with ECR passport. According to migration experts in India, definitely the Indians who migrate to 18 ECR countries for job without using eMigrate as they are Class 10 pass is high. “We (India government) fail to capture the data because it is not mandatory for ECNR passport holders (Class 10 pass) to register or use eMigrate system,” Sr Josephine Valarmathi, a migrant rights activist in Tamil Nadu, India, said.

ECNR registration
In a bid to fill the above said gap of failing to capture the data of Indians migrating with ECNR passport, the Indian government tried to implement the eMigrate mandatory for those who are migrating with ECNR passport from Jan 1, 2019. However, as resistance citing logistic difficulties were raised from different corners, the decision has been put on hold.
Difference in 2010 and 18
So, it is crystal clear that the statistics doesn’t portray the full picture and the claim is based on erred references.

The Indian data uploaded in 2010 says number of Emigrants going to ECR countries through RA and Direct Recruitment by FE(2010). And the 2018 data is about Emigration Clearances (ECs) obtained by RAs and Direct Recruitment by FEs for Year(2018). There is big difference in saying emigrants going to ECR countries through RAs and FEs and emigration clearances obtained RAs and Fes.

Now, Oman Statistics
Oman government statistics say that in Nov 2018, there were 662,360 Indians in Oman. There is a dip of 3.9 per cent in numbers when compared to the same month in 2017.

In 2016, it was 693,917 and in 2015, it was 669,882.

In 2014, it was 598,536 and in 2013, it was 599,473.

Interestingly, the data portal doesn’t have the number of Indians in Oman in 2012. In fact, between 2013 and 2018, there is a 11 per cent increase in number of working Indians in Oman.

Clear Gaps
“eMigrate data is not full. It doesn’t have the number of ECNR passport holders. So, we can’t make any analysis to say that there is dip of increase in the Indian numbers working abroad,” Sr Valarmathi added.