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India to stop exploitation of Gulf workers

MOIA has decided to amend the 1983 Emigration Act to make punishment for illegal recruitment harsher.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2006 12:06 IST

With complaints of ill-treatment of Indian workers in Gulf countries on the rise, Government has decided to launch a crackdown on illegal recruitment and regulate emigration by making the laws stringent.

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) has decided to amend the 1983 Emigration Act to make punishment for illegal recruitment harsher by raising the minimum imprisonment to five years from the present six months.

The amount of fine will also be increased manifold from present Rs 1,000 to Rs 25,000.

The decision comes in the wake of two incidents of violence recently in Dubai involving expatriates, including Indians, who were not paid the promised wages.

By amending the Act, the ministry intends to make recruiting agents answerable and ensure proper screening of employment of each worker, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said in an interview in New Delhi.

The aim is to ensure registration of recruiting agents and make them responsible for every recruitment and well-being of each person sent abroad for work.

"The recruiting agents will have to be answerable. They will be asked to present reports to the MOIA every year," Ravi said. This would form basis for renewal of their licences.

To ensure proper implementation of the proposal, cooperation of state governments will be essential, he said.