Seeking to prevent exploitation of Indian workers abroad, the government is planning to make it mandatory for foreign employers from certain countries to register in India under a new Emigration Law.

The Emigration Bill that will replace the legislation of 1983 is expected to be introduced in Parliament during the ongoing Budget session.

The draft Bill has been sent to various ministries including Law Ministry and Home Ministry for their comments and once the process is completed, it will be taken up by the Cabinet for consideration.

Under the new law, an Immigration Authority would be set up to oversee all the aspects related to movement of workers, mainly to Gulf countries and Malaysia.

“Foreign employers from notified countries will have to register with the authority,” Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told PTI in an interview.

The notified countries are 18 countries of Gulf and Malaysia.

The proposal for mandatory registration has been mooted as workers wanting to go abroad for greener pastures are often duped by the recruitment agents and touts.

There have been umpteen cases where passports of the workers are confiscated by foreign employers or touts soon after arrival to their destinations abroad. The workers are then exploited and not paid the wages as promised.

“The current Emigration Act was framed 26 years back. We have drafted the new bill considering today’s requirement,” the Overseas Affairs Minister said.

“The salient feature of the new Bill is to create an immigration authority. They will have the complete control over the immigration process,” Mr. Ravi added.

Once the authority is set up, government would disband the office of the Protector of Emigrants (POE), which has often been accused of being involved in corrupt practices and harassment.

“The proposed authority will have complete control over all the matters related to migration,” Mr. Ravi said.

Highlighting other key features of the proposed law, Mr. Ravi said the bill also proposes measures to have control over recruitment agents and check human trafficking.

“We want to make every recruitment agent accountable. We want to ensure effective control over agents,” he said.

Mr. Ravi said his ministry also seeks to make registration compulsory for the students wanting to go abroad for studies.

The draft bill also provides for more power to the state police to deal with unscrupulous recruiting agents who duped those wanting to migrate to other countries.

Mr. Ravi said in view of the complaints about harassment received from workers, the Overseas Affairs Ministry has undertaken a massive audio visual campaign to educate prospective workers going abroad and warning them about the risks of dealing through unauthorised agents.

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