Consular officials want to be able to track down expat workers in trouble or who have been conned by false offers of work
Indians heading to UAE for work must now register online to help tackle job fraud
Starting January 1, Indian nationals must register on a government portal before leaving their home country to work in the UAE.
The online registration is mandatory and must be completed at least 24 hours before departure by Indians travelling on employment visas to the UAE, and 17 other countries, or travellers will be offloaded, according to an Indian government advisory.
These countries include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, UAE and Yemen.
A government advisory from the Ministry of External Affairs, issued on November 14, said this was part of an effort to provide protection to Indians employed overseas.
However, Indians in the UAE are seeking clarity on whether the directive applies only to first-time job seekers, visa renewal cases or includes all Indians with work visas who return home for a visit.
Mr Vipul, the Indian Consul General in Dubai, said the move was aimed at helping consular officials reach overseas workers who may need help.
“There are lots of people who are vulnerable and it is to safeguard their interest. This will enable the consulate and the ministry to get them help quickly if they need it because they will have the data of where they have travelled. It’s about reaching help and understanding the pattern of how many have travelled overseas on work,” Mr Vipul said.
“The registration form is not a tedious process and will not take time to fill.”
The new directive applies to Indians not requiring emigration checks.
Girish Pant, who works with the Indian Consulate’s community welfare team, urged all Indians to register.
“There have been so many cases of job fraud where people have been cheated. Obtaining the details of people will help consulates who will now have all the information required. It will be clear which agents have cheated people who go overseas,” he said.
As per legislation issued in 1983 in India, unskilled and semi-skilled workers who have not completed year 10 schooling require an emigration clearance stamp on the last page of their passport to leave India for employment to 18 countries including the UAE.
The emigration check stamp is not required for those who have completed school and pay income tax.
UAE resident KV Shamsudheen said there was confusion about whether it applied to all Indians with valid work visas for the countries identified.
“There are millions of people working in these 18 countries who have residency visas so it needs to be clear whether it is for everyone or new job seekers,” said Mr Shamsudheen who heads a welfare trust.
“The purpose is to help people who may be educated but fall into the trap of unscrupulous recruitment agents and pay large sums of money for employment - although this is against rules and regulations. The agents paint a fancy picture and promise them high salaries. The government knows there is a problem and wants to properly monitor this."
On the registration document, the government website specifies that the name of the registered agent or immigration consultant must filled by those who have not directly secured employment.
Indians travelling on employment visas should enter their details on the website, emigrate.gov.in, and click on the ‘ECNR Registration link.’ This refers to the 'emigration check not required' category.
On completing the registration, they will receive a confirmation email or mobile text message.