500 nurses from Kerala duped, stranded in UAE
At least 500 nurses from Kerala who were promised high salary and other perks are stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after being allegedly duped by recruiting agents. Some stranded nurses have written to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. However, his office said it had not received any such complaint.
One of them, Reen Rajan (30), said she applied for the job after she came across an advertisement in leading newspapers that UAE was recruiting nurses on urgent basis in view of the pandemic situation and Keralites will be given preference. “I had to cough up ₹2.30 lakh to the agent and later she was granted a visiting visa,” said Rajan, who spoke over the phone to HT. She said, the agent told her that work visa will be granted once they reach UAE. We are herded in dingy rooms for about a month. Some of them have returned after they came to know they were cheated. We were recruited by a Kochi-based agency ‘Take Off ’ two months back. Now these agents are saying we can work in care homes and massage parlours,” said Rajan, who quit her job with a private hospital in Kollam to take up the new assignment.
She said that she sent a letter to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan narrating her plight and also took up the issue with MLA K B Ganesh Kumar. When contacted, the CM’s office said they are yet to know about their complaint. Police are yet to register a complaint.
Her brother Rijo Rajan, who is working in Kollam said, after he came to know about his sister’s plight he made inquiries about the agency and came to know that its proprietor Fizroze Khan was allegedly involved in another case of cheating and was in jail for some time. He said after his release he closed his agency “Keydot” and started a new one “Take Off” to cheat gullible aspirants. Most of the stranded said they paid between ₹2-4 lakh to get the visa.
“Some of us have taken a loan to pay up. They know our precarious financial situation and so they are forcing us to do odd jobs. We were promised ₹1 lakh pay package and accommodation and they showed us some videos of nurses recruited by them. We were asked not to disclose it to anyone as recruitment of nurses was only permitted through government- approved agencies,” said another stranded nurse Susan Saji.
Some of them said they applied after they were told that there were enough vacancies as hospitals need nurses urgently due to the pandemic situation.
To contain the exploitation of such job aspirants, earlier, both union and state governments had constituted special bodies to recruit nurses. In Kerala, nurses are recruited through the Overseas Development and Employment Promotion Consultants Ltd and Non-Residents Keralites Affairs. Despite such approved agencies many approach such dubious agents and get cheated.
Last year, Kerala police had busted a gang that recruited models for middle-east countries and later forced them to become escorts and gold carriers. Once they land up in foreign countries, these gang members seize their passport and other documents and they are forced to toe their diktats.