GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO. 986
ANSWERED ON JULY 17, 2014
Indian Languishing in Middle East
986. SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR:
Will the Minister of OVERSEAS INDIAN AFFAIRS be pleased to state;
(a) whether Government is aware of thousands of expatriate Indian labourers languishing in Middle Eastern countries due to very poor labour conditions;
(b) whether Government is also aware that there are no regulations for the employment of Indian migrants;
(c) if so, the action taken or proposed to be taken by Government in this regard;
(d) whether Government seeks to take the matter up in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); and
(e) if so, the details thereof, and if not, the reasons therefor?
MINISTER OF STATE OVERSEAS INDIAN AFFAIRS
GENERAL (RETD.) SHRI V.K. SINGH
(a): All the emigrants except Domestic Sector Workers (D.S.W) are governed by the Labour Laws of the respective countries. However, Complaints received from Indian workers, from time to time, are generally in the nature of non-payment/ delayed payment or underpayment of salaries, long working hours, inadequate living conditions, physical harassment, non-renewal of visa and labour card on time, refusal to pay for the medical treatment, denial of leave and air ticket to the hometown on completion of contract period of contract, refusal of leave or 'exit/re-entry permits'/ 'final exit visa' etc.
(b): No, Sir. Emigration of Indian workers seeking overseas employment is regulated by the Emigration Act 1983 and the Emigration Rules, 1983 as amended from time to time.
(c): Does not arise.
(d) & (e): Though there is no specific proposal to take up such issues with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Indian Missions in the Gulf countries take up with the respective local Governments and other concerned agencies for expeditious redressal of grievance of the emigrants. The issues concerning protection of the interests of Indian nationals are also flagged during all meetings with local dignitaries and during bilateral meetings.
India has also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Labour with major labour receiving countries like Jordan and Qatar in 1980s, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December, 2006, with Kuwait in April, 2007, with Oman in November, 2008, and with Bahrain in June, 2009, and Saudi Arabia in January, 2014 (for Domestic Sector Workers). Under these MOUs, Joint Working Groups (JWG) are constituted to discuss and resolve various labour and other related issues.