Expats worried as many questions remain on new rule coming into effect on January 1
Dubai: Indian expats in the UAE have sought clarity on the implementation of the new online registration rule announced by India’s Ministry of External Affairs. They have also demanded the convenience of registering from here.
As per the new rule, registration on the government recruitment portal http://www.emigrate.gov.in will be mandatory for Indians not requiring emigration clearance [ECNR passport holders] travelling to work in 18 countries including the UAE on employment visas, failing which they will not be allowed to board the aircraft from January 1.
As exclusively reported by Gulf News, the rule will be applicable to all ECNR passport holders already working in these countries as well.
India’s top emigration official confirmed that they will have to register only while they are on a visit to India and before flying back to their country of residence on an employment visa.
“They also have to register when they visit India and are flying back on their work visa,” M.C. Luther, joint secretary for overseas employment and protector general of emigrants, said over phone from New Delhi.
“If they come [to India] on vacation and are returning, they need to register,” Rajesh Sharma, deputy secretary for overseas employment, reiterated in an emailed statement on Thursday.
Neither the advisory nor the officials mentioned the need for registering details of dependents and other categories of visa holders like investors.
Several Indian expats have sought more clarity in the rules.
Denzil Monteiro, an Indian HR professional in Dubai, said HR managers here are unable to advise the Indian employees in their companies about the new rule due to the lack of clarity in the order.
On the clause that failure to register will lead to the applicant being barred from flying, Monteiro said: “It is troublesome for people to register when they are back in India. They should allow us to register from here and they cannot stop people who don’t require emigration clearance from boarding.”
The web portal was not accessible for several hours yesterday. Expats also pointed out other hurdles in the registration process such as the requirement of an Indian mobile number to access the registration form.
The online form could be accessed only from India by using a one-time password which will be sent to an India mobile number fed by the applicant. Some expats wondered if they will have to carry the same number while flying out.
“Giving the option of using only an Indian mobile number will be inconvenient to many people. Usually, many NRIs use their relatives’ or friends’ mobile numbers while on vacation,” said K.V. Shamsudheen, chairman of the Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust in Sharjah.
Girish Pant, a member of the Indian Consulate’s community volunteers team, said the initiative will equip the government to help its citizens when they need emergency assistance, and in situations demanding evacuation of Indians from any of the 18 countries notified for emigration clearance.
However, expats like Prasad. N, an architect, wondered if the move to collect data is the beginning of plans to tax NRIs. “That is my biggest worry,” he said.
Should one have an Indian mobile number to access the registration form or can a family member’s number in India be used?
Will expats have to show SMS/email at the airport as confirmation of registration, or will the immigration officials be able to see it in the system?
Will they be barred from boarding if they are unable to show the SMS/email, or if the system to verify registration is down for any reason?
How can an expat flying to India for a day register 24 hours prior to departure as required in the new rule?
All Indians must register online before flying to UAE for work.
Dubai: Starting January 1, 2019, all Indians flying to the UAE on employment visa must pre-register with an Indian government recruitment portal, failing which they will be offloaded.
India has made online registration mandatory for all Indians not requiring emigration checks going for overseas employment to 18 notified countries including the UAE.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has issued an advisory announcing the mandatory registration of Non-Emigration Check Required (Non-ECR or ECNR) passport holding Indians through the website www.emigrate.gov.in to provide protection and welfare to the Indian emigrants abroad.
“The said registration of Non-ECR passport holders will be mandatory and required to be completed at least 24 hours prior to the actual departure,” the advisory posted on the recruitment portal stated.
“Starting 01.01.2019, no Indian emigrant holding Non-ECR passport would be allowed to go to these 18 ECR countries for employment without prior registration in eMigrate, as a measure of extending protection and ensuring their welfare overseas.”
“Off-loading of unregistered non-ECR emigrants at the airports would be effected by the appropriate authority after January 1, 2019,” it said.
The online recruitment portal was established to ensure protection and welfare of the ECR (emigration clearance required) passport holders who are uneducated and unskilled.
Such Indian citizens require an emigration clearance from the office of the Protector of Emigrants to seek employment in foreign countries, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, UAE and Yemen.
The recruitment procedure through the eMigrate portal has been in place for ECR category since 2015 to protect them against human trafficking, illegal recruitment and exploitation.
The protection ensured through the eMigrate portal for this category of workers has now been extended to ECNR (emigration clearance not required) passport holders as well.
More than a dozen categories of Indian citizens automatically qualify for ECNR status, including income-tax payers, those below 18 years and above the age of 50, and those with an educational qualification of matriculation and above.
The ministry has now urged all Indians travelling to these 18 countries on employment visas, irrespective of their educational and employment background, to register online with immediate effect.
Registration can be done by visiting the ECNR Registration section on the website www.emigrate.gov.in
On successful completion of online registration, the applicant would receive a confirmatory SMS/ email. This confirmation will have to be shown at the airport from where the applicant boards the flight.
Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul said the ministry’s move is another step from the Indian government to ensure the welfare and proper working conditions of all Indian workers going abroad, especially those who are susceptible and going overseas for the first time.
“A lot of people, even in the ECNR category do not have the experience of working abroad. This will help them,” he told Gulf News.
Reports of Indians falling victims to bogus job offers also could have been a reason for the introduction of the new rule, he observed.
“There have been many cases where people are getting cheated with bogus job offers. There have been cases targeting professionals, teachers, doctors and others. Recently, we dealt with at least two or three cases related to a particular hospital in Al Ain,” Vipul said, pointing out that the new move will help prevent educated job aspirants from falling for fake job offers.
Job seekers having queries and seeking clarifications can contact Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK) in India on toll free number 1800113090 or 01140503090 (charges apply) or by email at mailto:[email protected] , the ministry’s advisory added.
Category of passengers
The non-ECR category of passengers include Indians paying income tax and those with educational qualification above matriculation. As of now only ECR category passport holders were required to get emigration clearance from the office of the Protector of Emigrants to seek employment abroad. All those seeking employment will have to register online via the website www.emigrate.gov.in. Those failing to register at least 24 hours prior to actual departure will be off-loaded at the airports.
For all other visa categories, there is no change in existing procedures.
Officials say the objective of the directive is to protect workers with higher educational qualification from not getting into blue collar jobs. Previously only ECR stamped passport holders had to go through the mandatory e-migrate registration since 2015.
However, not all blue collar workers are in the ECR category as it was evident in the number of people taking up employment in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman and Qatar.
Statistics available with the Ministry of External Affairs showed that UAE is one of the five top destination countries for Indians taking up employment. Nearly 1.5 lakh Indians had taken up employment in that country last year. This was followed by Saudi Arabia (78,611); Kuwait (56,380); Oman (43,332) and Qatar (24,759).
The job roles were that of mason (52,833); labour (49,490); carpenter (41,588); helper (23,6700; and electrician (17,703). Incidentally Uttar Pradesh has emerged as the top labour-sending State with 88,450 Indian emigrants registering with the e-migrate system. This was followed by Bihar (69,426); Tamil Nadu (38,341); West Bengal (36,599) and Rajasthan (32,184).
The other countries where registration is required are Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand and Yemen.
Job seekers could also contact Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra in India on toll free number 1800113090 or by email at [email protected]