Concerned over malpractices by unregistered agents who dupe people under the pretext of foreign jobs, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today told states that it is incumbent upon them to take stringent and punitive action against them to abate this menace.
This was conveyed by Swaraj during a meeting with NRI Affairs Ministers of States/UTs here on the subject of promoting safe and legal migration overseas.
Swaraj impressed upon the need of curbing the malpractices perpetrated by unregistered agents who dispatch innocent people abroad on false pretext of overseas employment and thereafter abandon them. They are left in the lurch in foreign land, penniless and the government is hard pressed to secure their rescue and repatriation.
"She exhorted that since these agents function from the States' jurisdiction and law and order being a State subject, it is incumbent on the state government to take stringent and punitive action against them which would abate this menace," the ministry said.
Though there are no official figures of those duped but according to the ministry data, lakhs of poeple go to a number of countries every year and out of these almost 7-8 lakh emigrants go to countries which are notified as 'Emigration Check Required' (ECR) nations, including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Swaraj further outlined the four point agenda of the government on rescue or repatriation of distressed workers abroad to include free repatriation on government cost in case of war, natural calamity and in case of company closure of legally migrated persons.
"In case of illegal migration, the emigrant would be brought back only once the state lodges FIR against the illegal agent and cost would be recovered from the said agent. If a person goes illegally in the second instance, cost would be recovered from the person and his passport would be suspended for five years," the release said.
Swaraj also asked the states to launch a media campaign to promote safe and legal migration and ensure that the potential migrants are adequately skilled.
During the meeting, state ministers and representatives gave their inputs and agreed to proactively curb the activities of these illegal agents, the release said.
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