Ambassador asked to pursue matter with authorities

The Centre has decided to urge the UAE to reconsider its decision ordering about 18,000 Indians working there without proper papers to return to India within three months or face imprisonment. Instead it would ask the government to grant them visa and allow them to continue in their jobs.

Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi assured the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that the government would intervene in the matter.

Mr. Ravi made the statement when Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said the issue raised by C.M. Ramesh (TDP) during zero hour was serious. Soon after the government received a report a couple of days ago, it issued a directive to the embassy in UAE to take up the matter. The External Affairs Ministry was briefed and the Civil Aviation Ministry ordered to arrange additional flights to help the Indians return.

Mr. Ravi stressed that the UAE had launched a crackdown only against those lacking valid documents and visa.

Members cutting across party lines said the plight of family members here and those worried about their fate in UAE was not limited to any one State. The Chair too expected the government to make a statement in the matter given the seriousness of the issue.

Mr. Ramesh said the employers had taken away the visas of these people and were making them work despite expiry of their contract, leaving them at the mercy of the UAE authorities.

He said the deportation order was only against Indians and they were also not being paid regularly.

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