The Federation of Overseas Recruitment Associations of India (Forai) has urged the government to scrap the minimum referral wages (MRWs) directive to foreign employers as it has hit manpower export industry very badly.
The foreign ministry had recently finalised MRWs for different countries in the Gulf and others. It also wants the host country employers to provide free accommodation, food, transportation, medical facilities and applicable overtime wages.
"Though well-intentioned, the MRWs are totally at gross variance with the ground reality in the Gulf region and it needs to be scrapped forthwith," Forai Chairman V S Abdul Kareem said.
He said following this, recruitment of Indians in the Gulf region has come down by more 50 per cent, while the number of emigration clearances issued by India for the region has halved to 4,62,312 in October 2016 from a high 8,04,878 in 2014.
Noting that the MRWs were finalised by the government without consulting the manpower recruiting industry, labour ministries and chambers of commerce in the host countries, Kareem said there is 30-40 per cent difference between the MRWs prescribed by India and wage structure prevailing in the Gulf now.
"It is not clear on what basis these MRWs were determined," Kareem wondered.
He also pointed out that these MRWs and other facilities are far higher than the minimum wages prevailing in these countries and local employers are averse to increase them as per the MRWs determined by India.