Close to 20,000 Indian women were granted emigration clearance for employment in the Gulf countries in 2012.

A maximum number of 11,901 clearances was granted for Kuwait, followed by Oman at 5,884, the United Arab Emirates at 1,334, Saudi Arabia at 340, Bahrain at 122 and 45 for Qatar, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has told the Lok Sabha.

Most these women are engaged in various jobs such as doctors, nurses, teachers, housemaids, receptionists, etc.

Workers’ safety

Ravi said the Government has taken various steps to ensure the safety of emigrant workers in the Gulf countries such as a 24-hour helpline in eight languages to provide authentic information on various aspects of emigration at an Overseas Workers Resource Centre.

In addition, there is a Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana, a compulsory insurance scheme for the protection of emigrant workers against accidents, injuries, etc.

Security deposit

Ravi said other measures include stipulation of a security deposit per worker from the foreign employer directly hiring an Indian worker ($2,500, pre-paid mobile phone facility for housemaids to be provided by the employer).

The Minister said the Government has also established an Indian Community Welfare Fund in all Indian Missions to provide onsite support to the emigrants in distress.

In addition, the Government has signed memoranda of understanding with seven major labour receiving countries — Jordan, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Malaysia and Bahrain to lay down the framework for bilateral co-operation for the protection and welfare of workers.

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on March 7, 2013)
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