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Union Minister V K Singh today asked the states to come down "heavily" on the unauthorised agents who facilitate illegal immigration.
He was addressing the first 'Outreach Conference' of the Ministry of External Affairs with the Telangana government on consular, passport and diaspora issues here.
"Our biggest problem is of illegal agents. This is one of the problems which we have not been able to overcome so far, and we seek assistance of the states to come down very heavily on this particular problem," the Minister of State for External Affairs said.
"Regular, registered agents nominate various sub-agents, who work illegally. Such sub-agents carry out illegal immigration. And most of the problems with our workers, who go abroad, are due to these agents. The workers are taken on fake documents or tourist visas and the agents do not inform our embassies, thus they (workers) don't remain registered with us," Singh said.
"The problem is also the people who immigrate through illegal agents. Because these people come illegally and they do not register themselves on the ministry's eMigrate portal. They do not register even with the embassy concerned till they get into any problem," he said, adding a large number of recruiting agents and employers abroad are registered with the ministry's eMigrate portal.
"There is a great transparency. But illegal immigrants don't get registered and it becomes difficult for us to trace them out," the minister said.
He further said there are SOP for the state governments to follow.
"I expect SOPs are made more elaborate so that both the states and the Centre can ensure that illegal immigration can be stopped," Singh added.
Telangana's IT and NRI Affairs Minister K T Rama Rao said a large number of blue-collar workers from the state go abroad for work.
"The state government is willing to contribute to Indian Community Welfare Fund and also to provide legal assistance and translators to the workers when they face problems abroad," said Rao.
Rao also requested the Centre to negotiate an agreement with Saudi Arabia to ensure that the mortal remains of blue- collar workers are sent home after their death there.
He pointed out that it was a shock for a number of students from the state last year when they went to the US and found there that certain universities were blacklisted and it was not in their knowledge.
"The Centre should provide information to the state governments to ensure that the students are sensitised about the status of universities abroad before they apply for their respective courses," Rao said.
"We are clamping down on illegal agents and over 700 cases have been registered in the state," he added.