Continuing recruitment to Russia raises suspicion in Kerala

Suspicious recruitments are still going on in various parts of the State with no system to ascertain genuineness of the drives

Published - April 13, 2024 07:58 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Despite the controversy over Keralites being recruited to Russia to join the war against Ukraine under false promises, suspicious recruitments to Russia are still going on in various parts of the State with no system to ascertain the genuineness of the drives.

A recruitment drive held in Kochi on Saturday to recruit shuttering carpenters, steel fixers, masons, ARC /MIG /TIG welders, civil foremen, and steel fabricators for a nuclear power project in Russia was attended by close to 50 prospective candidates.

“The agency asked us to pledge the passport soon after the interview to process the visa. Though it was advertised as a client interview through social media, some north Indian people interviewed the candidates,” says Ranjith P.V. (name changed), a welder by profession who attended the interview. “I decided not to submit the passport and other documents they sought following suspicion over the recruitment drive,” he says.

Ajith Kolassery, Chief Executive Officer of NoRKA-Roots, says as per Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) norms, interview permission from the jurisdictional Protector of Emigrants (POE), a statutory authority responsible for the protection and welfare of emigrant workers, is mandatory to organise sourcing drives. All sourcing advertisements should carry licence number of the recruiter. In this case, these details are missing as per the online advertising, he says.

When contacted at the number provided in the advertisement bearing the name Dr. APJ Abdulkalam International Recruitments, Alappuzha, the agency claimed it was only involved in marketing of the recruitment drive. An agency in Chennai was responsible for the recruitment and queries regarding the licence number of the recruiter and other details can only be provided by that agency, it said. The online advertisement offers a monthly salary of ₹50,000 to ₹1 lakh for various positions and candidates will have to pay a service charge of ₹1.6 lakh, including for visa and flight ticket.

NoRKA officials say it is disheartening to note that despite repeated setbacks, people continue to provide money to recruiters without ascertaining the veracity of the recruitment drives and offers, although there were clear guidelines for the functioning of the recruitment agencies.

Recently, four youths were duped into joining Russia’s war with Ukraine. Of them, two were grievously injured and repatriated with the intervention of the Indian embassy, while two others are still in the combat zone.

Another batch of six youths from Kollam who arrived in Russia on the same offer, escaped without joining the army after they read the agreement in Russian with the help of a Google translation app.

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