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20,000 Indians returned losing jobs abroad

business Updated: Feb 26, 2009 15:21 IST
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About 20,000 Indians have returned home after losing their jobs overseas due to the global economic crisis, the government said on Thursday.

Though the exact number of people who have returned is not available, there are reports which indicate that between 16,000 to 20,000 Indians have come back here after the economic slowdown, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vyalar Ravi told the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.

To a supplementary, the Minister said that the number of incidents of overseas employers keeping passport of Indian employees have come down by 50 per cent. But he did not provide the period when this reduction has been witnessed.

He said the government is aware that some employers keep the employees’ visas with themselves and do not renew these in time, rendering them illegal immigrants. The government is holding talks with foreign countries on the issue.

The UAE has issued direction to employers not to keep the visa of their employees, he added.

The Minister also said there is a need to make changes in the Immigration Act, which was last amended in 1983.

On the issue of migrant workers, he said the government has taken a number of initiatives, including signing of bilateral agreements to protect their interests.

Asked how many Indians are in jails abroad, he said the government does not have the figure, but it is very vigilant and would collect the information.