Video Summary

[RSTV The Big Picture] Emigration policy: Challenges & Way forward

Recently, nine fishermen took perilous sea journey from Yemen to flee from their sponsor and arrived in Kerala. To try and address this kind of Emigration issues, the government has been mulling changes to the Immigration Act of 1983.
By IT's Video Summary Team
December 21, 2019


  • Introduction
  • What is reason behind such a large number of Indian being deported every year?
  • Are Indians susceptible to laws of Arab world?
  • How many Indian emigrants are working in Arab countries?
  • Arbitration Council in Arab countries
  • Reasons behind people going abroad
  • Solution to the problem
  • Changes taking place in current period
  • Emigration Bill 2019
  • Way Forward
  • Conclusion

[RSTV The Big Picture] Emigration policy: Challenges & Way forward

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The coast guard rescued the nine fishermen who fled Yemen in fishing vessel after being harassed by their sponsor in the Middle East nation. The sponsor had not paid them and was reluctant in providing them with basic amenities like food and shelter.

In a November, around 150 Indians were deported from the US for either flouting visa rules or illegally entering the United States. In a similar incident in October, nearly 300 Indians were deported from Mexico for trying to enter the US illegally.

Close to around 10000 Indians are deported from around the world every year.

What is reason behind such a large number of Indian being deported every year?

  • At the root of this issue, there is only one reason and that is Economic. Not in India, but in all developing nations, people looking for economic opportunities are being tempted or lured into such situations.
  • In the Arab world, India sends people who are Blue collared workers. The agents lure people who are in the economic need and job opportunities.
  • India is one of the country sending out the largest number of immigrants. India has more than 30 million of NRIs.

Are Indians susceptible to laws of Arab world?

  • In some of the Arab countries, worker’s passports are taken away and permissions are required from the employer for coming back to India.

 Kefala System

  • The ‘Kefala’ system which is used to monitor the migrant labourers is present in these countries.
  • The system requires all unskilled laborers to have an in-country sponsor, usually their employer, who is responsible for their visa and legal status.
  • The workers are beholden to the employers who sponsored their visas.

How many Indian emigrants are working in Arab countries?

  • The Indians mostly have been going to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries like Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman.
  • Approximately about 8 million of Indians are employed in these countries. Out of this, approximately 5% people land up in these countries without proper documents and through unscrupulous agencies and agents.

Arbitration Council in Arab countries

  • Four countries have agreed to have an Arbitration Councils or Courts where issue of migrant workers are taken up immediately and resolved. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have been resisting for a long time due to which this process is still not finalized.

Reasons behind people going abroad

  • India is not able to provide its population quality education and job opportunities.
  • Public institutions in India and the University scholars are not performing to their best and are not able to provide universal education.
  • The private institutions fees are so huge, that it is felt better to study in foreign universities.

Solution to the Indians going abroad

  • The Ministry of Human Resource, Ministry of External Affairs and Home ministry should coordinate their affairs constantly.
  • India needs to look and identify its citizens, register them and look at all the recruitment agencies operating in India who sent skilled workers to West.
  • The Indian citizens in US functions as a powerful lobby which can help the migrants of India. Government of India could sanction them to ensure the proper legalized emigration of Indian in West with legal documents.
  • There are funds such as Indian Community Welfare Funds (which are given to the people in need), Pravasi Bhartiya Sahayta Kendras, Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojna etc. but Indian workers do not know how to approach these funds. Therefore, there should be proper coordination between all stakeholders.

Changes taking place in current period

  • Even in the Arab world, the image of an Indian worker has improved dramatically. The political relations with Arab countries like Saudi Arabia or UAE have undergone a dramatic change.
  • The social media has become a very good instrument to help Indian people in need. Late Smt. Shushma Swaraj used to take immediate action upon receiving any message on Twitter or so.
  • The recruitment and placement agencies are registered, their track record is checked.
  • The perception about Indian Embassies has changed and it is seen as proactive step taking care of the NRIs and PIOs. This makes the host countries to be attentive to the Indian community.

Emigration Bill 2019

Ratings of the agencies

  • The proposed bill talks about the rating of the agencies in the field of sending Indian workers abroad.
  • There is a need of National Policy along with the state government involvement because the man power recruitment agencies have to be standardized. It is being done in some states like Kerala and Gujarat but in all other states there is no such process.
  • Rating of the student enrollment agencies are important as issues ranging from corruption, nexus between official and recruiting agencies does exist.
  • The rating need to be periodically reviewed and the latest status has to be coordinated with the state government.

Emigration Authority

  • A new authority called ‘Emigration Authority’ is proposed in the bill. It needs to be closely coordinated with the state government.
  • The NGOs from foreign nations as well as from India needs to coordinates with the new authority. The NGOs help a person who needs help in the foregin countries.

Optimum utilization of resources

  • The bill aims at optimum utilization of available resources and manpower rather than creating new elaborate structures.

Way Forward

  • As long as there’s a gap between the possibilities abroad and possibilities in India, the migrant flow will continue. The Indian government should create job opportunities for Indian citizens so they do not have to look outside for economic stability.
  • It is not only recruiting agencies fault but people, though knowing everything, take up the risk of going out. People should understand the problem and simultaneously, the government needs to make them aware of the potential dangers.
  • The government and embassies together should make the environment congenial for the Indian people


It’s true that the exploitation of Indian emigrants which we used to see earlier is now far less but so long as there is economic want, this problem will exist. The Indian workers in Arab world remit five billion dollars annually back to home. They are asset to India. Therefore, it’s high time to understand their importance and frame some effective Emigration laws.

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