Exclusive: Seven years jail for illegal recruiters

DATE: 25-Jan-2019 Reported By: The Arabian Stories

The Bill will also make mandatory registration/intimation of all categories of Indian nationals proceeding for overseas employment as well as students pursuing higher studies abroad.

Special Correspondent

Those who indulge in illegal recrutiment can be jailed for seven years and fined OMR2,800, (Rs500,000) a draft of Indian Emigration Bill 2019 reveals.

According to the draft, which is likely to be tabled in the February Budget Session in the Indian Parliament and passed, illegal recruitment means any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring and procuring individuals.

It also includes, referring, contact services, promising or advertising for employment abroad, by all means of communication, whether for profit or not, when undertaken by a non-license or non-holder of competent authority contemplated under the Act.

Currently, India migration is governed by 1983 Emigration Act.

As admitted the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) itself, the current Emigration Act has its intrinsic limitations while addressing the contemporary migration trends.

“The limitations of Emigration Act, 1983 are at times manifested in sub- optimal utilization of existing resources, delays in prosecution of illegal agents, lack of legislative provisions in working out effective framework for various programmes like pre-departure orientation, skill up gradation and other measures aimed at welfare and protection of migrant workers,” the draft reveals.
In an effort to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration, the draft proposes to set up a new Emigration Management Authority (EMA), fresh bureaus and nodal authorities.

According to the MEA, Emigration Management Authority (EMA) will ensure overall welfare and protection of emigrants, Bureaus will take care of day to day operational matters and will be responsible for all emigration related issues and the Nodal authorities will be setup by respective States and Union Territories will work in close coordination with other competent authorities of the Central government  so as to ensure safe , orderly and regular migration and addressing various aspects related to returnee migrants.

The draft Bill also lays out procedures on how to register a recruitment agency adding that the agencies will be rated also on the basis of their performances.

According to a document from the Indian parliament, cases against 446 illegal agencies were forwarded to the state governments by the central government in 2017.

Mandatory Registration

Additionally, the Bill will also make mandatory registration/intimation of all categories of Indian nationals proceeding for overseas employment  as well as students pursuing higher studies abroad.

During the end of December in 2018, the central government had come up with an instruction making registration mandatory for all who travelling abroad for a job.

However, due to resistance from different migrant organisations, the mandatory registration was put on hold then.

Currently, it is mandatory only for those who migrate through eMigrate for job to foreign countries to register with the Indian government.

Those who are Class 10 pass, don’t have to register and use eMigrate portal.

Meanwhile, Rafeek Ravuther, a migrant rights activist, said that there several good measures present in the draft of new Emigration Bill.

“However, we should not forget the India has not passed at least a dozen of global rights tools put forward by UN agencies. Without adopting them and ratifying them, it is difficult to say that the new Emigration Bill is going to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration,” Rafeek said.

“More specifically, in the field of recruitment there are a number of relevant ILO conventions: the Migration for Employment Convention (Revised) 1949 (No. 97); the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention 1975 (No. 143) and the Private Employment Agencies Convention 1997 (No. 181). India has not ratified any of these conventions,” Rafeek added.

Hubertson Tomwillson, a migrant rights activist and a lawyer, said that India has not also taken a proactive step in the adoption of Global Compact for Migration and other international tools that will protect the migrant workers’ rights.

“There are 23 objectives in the GCM. But we are doubtful, how many of them will India take seriously. So, can’t be sure whether the new Emigration Bill is going to protect migrant workers’ rights,” Hubertson said.