What is Emigration ?
Emigration means the departure of any person from India for employment (whether or not under an agreement, with or without the assistance of a registered Recruiting Agent or employer) in any country or place outside India.
The Indian Emigrant Emigration of Indian workers to other countries has been an ongoing process since time immemorial. Always a source of new talent and endeavor, the Indian worker has contributed to the economic development of both his home country as also the country where he works.
What is the Protection to Indian Emigrant ?
The Emigration Act, 1983
In order to safeguard the interests of Indian nationals working abroad, the Emigration Act, 1983 requires all workers seeking contractual employment abroad to obtain emigration clearance from any of the eight Offices of the Protectors of Emigrants (POE’s). The Act also mandates that no agency/establishment can undertake recruitment of Indians for employment abroad without obtaining registration from the Protector General of Emigrants, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India.
Salient Features of the Act
• Any Indian national can be recruited for a job abroad either through a Recruiting Agent registered under the Act or by an employer with a valid Permit issued by the Protector General of Emigrants.
• No Indian citizen (unless exempted) can emigrate without obtaining emigration clearance from the concerned Protector of Emigrants.
What is the Organizational Structure for Emigration Act, 1983 ?
Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs administers the Emigration Act, 1983. The Act is enforced by the Protector General of Emigrants(PGE). The eight offices of Protector of Emigrants function under the supervision and control of the PGE. The 8 offices of the Protectors of Emigrants have been established at
Any applicant seeking employment abroad and possessing a passport with ‘Emigration Check Required’, endorsement can obtain emigration clearance from any of these eight offices on submission of other documents as prescribed.
Persons holding ECNR passport or unstamped passports are not required to obtain emigration clearance.
What is the Emigration Procedures ?
Emigration Check Required (ECR) Category
Categories of persons whose passports have been endorsed as “Emigration Check Required’ (ECR), are required to obtain emigration clearance from the POE office before traveling abroad for taking up an overseas employment.
Note :Earlier they were required to obtain ‘suspension’ of emigration check in order to travel abroad for purposes other than employment. From 1st October, 2007 the requirement of obtaining ‘Suspension’ has been done away with
Emigration Check Not Required (ECNR) Category
Section 22 of the Emigration Act, 1983 provides that no citizen of India shall emigrate unless he obtains emigration clearance from the concerned Protector of Emigrants (POE). However, with a view to facilitate the movement of the people, 13 categories of persons (listed later in this chapter) have been exempted from this requirement and have been placed under ‘Emigration Check Not Required’ (ECNR) category. As such they are entitled to ECNR endorsement on their passports from the Regional Passport Offices. Such persons are not required to obtain any emigration clearance from the Offices of POEs before seeking employment abroad.
When Emigration Clearance is Not Required
• Persons traveling on ECNR passport / unstamped passport (See list);
• Persons traveling to any of the ECNR countries (See list);
• The pilgrims going for Haj and Umrah to Saudi Arabia and those pilgrims travelling with the declared purpose of performing Ziarat to Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and Yemen.
WHAT IS THE LIST OF PERSONS/CATEGORIES OF WORKERS IN WHOSE CASE EMIGRATION CHECK IS NOT REQUIRED / ELIGIBLE FOR UNSTAMPED PASSPORT ?
1. All holders of Diplomatic/Official Passports.
2. All Gazetted Government Servants.
3. All income-tax payers (including Agricultural Income Tax payees) in their individual capacity.
4. All professional degree holders, such as Doctors holding MBBS degrees or Degrees in Ayurved or Homoeopathy; Accredited Journalists; Engineers; Chartered Accountants; Lecturers; Teachers; Scientists; Advocates etc.
5. Spouses and dependent children of category of persons listed from (2) to (4).
6. Persons holding class 10 or higher qualification.
7. Seamen who are in possession of CDC or Sea Cadets, Desk Cadets
(i) who have passed final examination of three year B.SC Nautical Science Courses at T.S. Chanakya, Mumbai; and
(ii) who have undergone three months Pre-sea training at any of the Government approved Training Institutes such as T.S. Chanakya, T.S. Rehman, T.S. Jawahar, MTI (SCI) and NIPM, Chennai after production of identity cards issued by the Shipping Master, Mumbai/Calcutta/Chennai.
8. Persons holding permanent immigration Visas, such as the visas of UK, USA and Australia.
9. Persons possessing two years diploma from any institute recognized by the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) or State Council of Vocational Training (SCVT) or persons holding three years diploma/equivalent degree from institutions like Polytechnics recognized by Central/State Governments.
10. Nurses possessing qualification recognized under the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947. 11. All persons above the age of 50 years.
12. All persons who have been staying abroad for more than three years (the period of three years could be either in one stretch or broken) and their spouses.
13. Children below 18 years of age.
LIST OF COUNTRIES FOR WHICH EMIGRATION CHECK IS NOT REQUIRED IS GIVEN AT APPENDIX-I
List of 174 countries which do not require Emigration Clearance (ECNR Countries)
Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d’lvoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Vatican City
LIST OF COUNTRIES FOR WHICH EMIGRATION CHECK IS REQUIRED IS GIVEN AT APPENDIX-II
LIST OF COUNTRIES WHERE EMIGRATION CLEARANCE IS REQUIRED (ECR Countries)
1. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE)
2. THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)
18. IRAQ (EMIGRATION BANNED)
What are the the Delegation of Power to Immigration Officers under emergent circumstances?
The Immigration Officers posted at International Airports have been given powers to allow the following categories of persons with ‘ECR’ endorsement on their passports to board the aircraft for proceeding abroad under emergent circumstances
(i) VIPs like Central and State Ministers, MPs, MLAs etc. and their family members accompanying them. (ii) Central and State Government Officers travelling on diplomatic/official passport or passports with ECNR endorsement and their family members accompanying them.
(iii) Students going abroad for higher studies provided they furnish documentary proof in support of their admission in the foreign country.
(iv) Persons going abroad due to sudden demise of any of their relatives in a foreign country.
(v) Persons going abroad for medical treatment of any injury due to accident or any acute health problem of self or any of their relatives in a foreign country.
(vi) Sports persons representing the country in International competitions/training/coaching programmes provided their foreign visit is duly approved by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
What are the Guidelines for Emigration Clearance ?
The procedure for emigration clearance has been simplified. Emigration clearance to individuals is granted on the same day on which the application is made at any of the offices of the Protectors of Emigrants (POE). Even where the clearance is required for groups, it is given on the same day at all POE offices.
What is the Procedure for Emigration Clearance ?
1. In cases where the profession indicated in visa does not tally with the profession indicated in the Employment contract, affidavit may be obtained from the Recruiting Agent.
2. Where the visa is stamped on arrival in the country of employment, Emigration Clearance may be granted on the basis of a ‘No Objection Certificate’ issued by foreign Embassy concerned.
3. The Recruiting Agent is required to furnish an affidavit confirming the following:
(i) that employment visa(s) attached/endorsed on the passport(s) of the worker(s) issued by respective Foreign Mission/Competent Authority in respect of foreign employer as per the details given against each name is/are genuine and valid for the period mentioned;
(ii) that the workers have been recruited by the Recruiting Agent and demand received from the foreign employer (where applicable);
(iii) that the worker will be deployed with the same foreign employer for whom he is being recruited and that he will be received by the foreign employer on reaching the country of employer;
(iv) that the worker has been trade tested and found fit for the job for which he is being deployed;
(v) that the worker will be paid the minimum required salary and shall be governed by minimum standards for conditions of employment as may be required in the country of employment;
(vi) that the worker will be deployed on the same job for which he has been recruited;
(vii) that the female worker will not be deployed as maid servant/domestic servant (where applicable);
(viii) that the Recruiting Agent is maintaining a register containing the above mentioned details of the workers.
4. No clearance is given for Iraq because the Government has temporarily banned emigration to Iraq.
5. No emigration clearance is granted for recruiting Indian nationals for any blacklisted Foreign Employer.
Q : How to Apply for Emigration Clearance ?
The application for emigration clearance should be made in the prescribed form by the applicant directly or through a Recruiting Agent or through the skilled employer concerned.
Documents Required for Skilled/Semi-Skilled Workers (individuals)
Semi-skilled individuals who seek emigration clearance directly from the Protectors of Emigrants (and not through Recruiting Agents) are required to produce the following documents in original for scrutiny and return:
(i) Passport valid for a minimum period of six months with valid visa.
(ii) Employment Contract from foreign employer.
(iii) Challan towards deposit of prescribed fee.
(iv) Insurance policy – Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana
Documents Required for Unskilled Workers (individuals)
Unskilled workers and women (not below 30 years of age) seeking employment abroad as housemaids/domestic workers shall continue to furnish (in original) the following documents at the time of obtaining emigration clearance:
(i) Passport valid for a minimum period of six months with valid Visa.
(ii) Employment contract from the foreign employer duly attested by the Indian Mission or Permission letter from the concerned Indian Mission/Post.
(iii) Challan towards deposit of prescribed fee.
(iv) Insurance policy (from any company registered with IRDA).
Documents required for skilled/semi-skilled workers(Through Recruiting Agents)
Recruiting agents who seek emigration clearance for skilled /semiskilled workers are required to produce:
(i) Passport of the worker valid for a minimum period of 6 months with valid visa.
(ii) Original Employment contract, demand letter and power of attorney from the foreign employer.
(iii) Challan towards deposit of prescribed fee.
(iv) Insurance Policy-Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana applicable from December, 25, 2003.
Documents required for unskilled workers (Through Recruiting Agents)
In addition to the requirements for Skilled/semiskilled workers, all employment documents mentioned in (ii) above have to be duly attested by the Indian Mission.
The Protector of Emigrants, after satisfying himself about the accuracy of the particulars mentioned in the application and in the other documents submitted along with the application, grants emigration clearance in the prescribed manner and form. In case there is any deficiency, the POE intimates the same by an order in writing to the applicant or, as the case may be, the Recruiting Agent or employer, through whom the applications have been made.
What are the ground of Rejection of Application of Emigration Clearance ?
The Protector of Emigrants may reject an application for emigration clearance on any one or more of the following grounds:
(a) that the terms and conditions of employment which the applicant proposes to take up are discriminatory or exploitative
(b) that the employment which the applicant proposes to take up involves work of a nature which is unlawful according to the laws of India or offends against the public policy of India or is violative of norms of human dignity and decency;
(c) that the applicant will have to work or live in sub-standard working or living conditions;
(d) that having regard to the prevailing circumstances in the country or place where the applicant proposes to take up employment or the antecedents of the employer under whom the applicant proposes to take up employment or any other relevant circumstances, it would not be in the interest of the applicant to emigrate;
(e) that no provision or arrangement has been made for meeting the expenses which may be incurred in case it becomes necessary to arrange for the repatriation to India of the applicant, or that the provisions or arrangements made in this behalf are not adequate for the purpose.
What is the recruitment Procedure ?
To streamline recruitment and to safeguard the interests of the emigrants, the Emigration Act 1983 stipulates that only Recruiting Agents possessing registration certificate from the PGE can recruit for overseas employment. The PGE has issued registration certificates to State Manpower Export Corporations in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi apart from about 1800 private agencies to recruit workers for overseas employment. The complete list of registered Recruiting Agents can be viewed online at www.moia.gov.in. Most of the Recruiting Agents are based in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.
The registration certificate is issued after detailed screening by the Protector General’s Office. Veracity of a recruiting agent can be ascertained by emigrants from the office of PGE and POE.
Direct recruitment is permitted in the case of foreign employers who obtain a permit from the Protector General of Emigrants
Recognizing that the Recruiting Agents are providing a service to prospective emigrants, the Government has allowed them to levy service charges. However, in a bid to prevent any misuse or exorbitant levies, the Government has limited the maximum service charges that such agents can charge each worker. The following are the rates of service charges category-wise in force at present. These service charges are subject to change from time to time:
Unskilled Workers Rs. 2,000
Semi-Skilled Workers Rs. 3,000
Skilled Workers Rs. 5,000
Others Rs. 10,000
What are the requirements of Job Advertisement by Recruiting Agents ?
It is mandatory on the part of the Recruiting Agents to quote the Registration Certificate number while advertising for overseas job. Before issue of the advertisement the Recruiting Agent must obtain three employment documents – Demand Letter, Specimen Contract and Power of Attorney – from the foreign employer. The emigrant can confirm the genuineness of the agent from the nearest Protector of Emigrant’s office located in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chandigarh or from the official website of the Ministry (http://www.moia.gov.in). He can also ask the Recruiting Agent to show the registration certificate and the three documents mentioned above.
WHAT IS MANDATORY ATTESTATION OF EMPLOYMENT DOCUMENTS ?
Keeping in view reports about submission of fake/forged documents by some unscrupulous Recruiting Agents to the Protector of Emigrants, it was decided to introduce mandatory attestation of employment in case of “unskilled workers” and “house maids”. In addition, attested employment documents are required to be submitted for all categories of workers if the recruitment is for Yemen, Lebanon, Libya, Jordan, Kuwait, Sudan and Brunei.
WHY THERE IS RESTRICTION/BAN ON RECRUITMENT OF WORKERS FOR IRAQ ?
In view of the security problems in Iraq the Government has imposed temporarily a complete ban on grant of emigration clearance to Iraq with effect from 15.04.2004. The Protectors of Emigrants put a `NOT VALID FOR TRAVEL TO IRAQ’ stamp on passports while granting emigration clearance/suspension for any of the Gulf countries with effect from 09.08.2005.
What kind of Complaints are made in case of Emigration ?
Nature of Complaints
• The contracts was unilaterally modified or substituted to the disadvantage of the worker after his arrival in the host country.
• The worker was put on a job different from the one for which he was recruited in India.
• The worker was not given any employment at all by the sponsor. Instead he/she is required to look for a job himself/herself and in return he/she is forced to pay a part of his/her salary to the sponsor.
• The registered Recruiting Agents charged much higher fees than prescribed by the government for the emigrant workers.
• The employer did not pay wages in time and terminated the employment contract prematurely.
• In some cases, workers complain of unsatisfactory living and working conditions, harassment, and denial of death and disability compensations etc, illtreatment and physical abuse.
What action is taken in case of Complaints against Recruiting Agents ?
The complaints made by the emigrants/intending emigrants are thoroughly examined and if necessary, in consultation with the concerned Indian Mission abroad. Action is taken, as appropriate in each case in accordance with the provisions of the Emigration Act, 1983 and Rules framed thereunder. Section 10 of the Emigration Act, 1983 provides for compulsory registration of Recruiting Agents with the Registering Authority, i.e, Protector General of Emigrants, Government of India for carrying on the business of recruitment for employment abroad. Contravention of provisions of Section 10 is a cognizable offence and Section 24 of the Act prescribes penalties for those who commit or attempt to commit such offences. All unregistered Recruiting Agents are proceeded against under this provision. Complaints against them are referred to the concerned police authorities for investigation and filing F.I.R. State Governments have been also requested to advise the District Authorities, in particular the Police Authorities, to ensure that preventive, strict and exemplary action is taken against illegal recruiting agents.
As regards registered Recruiting Agents, action is taken by PGE against erring agents by way of suspension and cancellation of Registration Certificate. In cases where the conduct of the Recruiting Agent is found to be dubious he is placed in the internal Watch List. Whenever major error is committed by any agents, the Bank Guarantees submitted by the Recruiting Agents are forfeited apart from cancellation of their Registration Certificate.
Complaints against foreign employers are taken up with the Indian Mission abroad. Complaints mostly relate to change of employment contract, non-payment and deduction of salaries, unhygienic working conditions, etc. As and when the foreign companies are found involved in breach of contract and non-payment of salaries etc, the same companies are placed in the Blacklist.
Is there any Public Hearings ?
The Protector General of Emigrants holds public hearings on every Tuesday at the office of POE, Delhi from 11.30 AM to 12.30 PM. An aggrieved person can meet the PGE during a public hearing for redressal of their grievances without any prior appointment.
What are the Special measures in case of Women emigrants ?
To prevent women emigrants from being exploited, women younger than 30 years holding ECR passports and seeking overseas employment are not granted emigration clearance. Special measures are being taken for on-site welfare of women emigrants with the help of Indian missions.
How to send Send of Remittances from Abroad ?
For sending remittances, emigrant workers who are going abroad for employment for more than 6 months can open a saving bank account viz. “NRI Saving Account”. If the emigrant worker is going abroad for employment for less than 6 months, he/she can open “NRI Saving Accounts”. The workers may also ascertain from the concerned bank as to whether that particular bank has their branch in the place where he/she would be working before opening an account. The emigrant workers are advised to avoid sending of remittance through Hawala. An emigrant-friendly e-remittance facility has been started with the help of UTI Bank
Is there any online Procedure for Emigration ?
The Government is implementing comprehensive e governance in emigration to make the process simple, transparent, fast and emigrant-friendly. All stakeholders will be linked to a common platform for greater accountability and data control. Process of granting Emigration clearance through computer has already been completed in POE, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Thiruvananthpuram. The POE offices in Cochin and Chennai are also going to be computerized shortly.
Where are the OFFICE OF THE PROTECTOR GENERAL OF EMIGRANTS ?
Protector General of Emigrants Room No. 1013 Akbar Bhavan, Satya Marg, Chanakya Puri New Delhi-110021 Telefax: 91-11-26874250 Fax: 91-11-24197984 e-mail: email@example.com
Dr. Shailja Sharma
Director Room No. 902 Akbar Bhavan, Satya Marg, Chanakya Puri New Delhi-110021 Tele: 91-11-26874241 Fax: 91-11-24197983 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
POE-I Jaisalmer House, Canteen Block, New DelhiTelefax: 011-233 82472 e-mail: email@example.com
N. B. Jambhulkar
POE Building ‘E’ khira Nagar, S.V. Road, Santa Cruz (W), Mumbai Telefax: 022-26614393/26614353
POE-I TNHB Ashok Nagar, Shopping Complex (Annexe), Ashok Nagar, Chennai-83 Telefax: 044-24891337
POE Room No. 18, A Wing, M.S.O. Building, 3rd Floor, D.F. Block, Salt Lake, Kolkata 700 084 Tel. 033-23343407 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
POE Mercy Estate, (4th Floor) Ravipuram, M.G. Road, Cochin 682 015 Telefax: 0484-2360187 e-mail: email@example.com
POE-I Suganthi, 24/846 (1), Thycaud, Thiruvananthapuram 695 014. Rel. 0471-2324835 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
POE 5th Block, Ground Floor, Sector 9-A, Kendriya Sadan Chandigarh 160 017 Tel. 0172-741790 e-mail: email@example.com
POE-I A.P.H.B. Chandra Vihar, M.G. Road, Hyderabad 500 001. Tel. 040-24732869 (P.P.) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org