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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2674

Recruitment of women workers to Middle East - India imposes new restrictions

By Walter Jayawardhana

New Delhi, 26 August, ( In the backdrop of serious abuses by employers as well as by the police forces especially in Saudi Arabia India said it would impose tighter regulations that would govern household workers starting from September 1.

Under these new restrictions India said 18 countries including Saudi Arabia and other oil rich Middle Eastern countries will be under mandatory obligations to pay USD 400 monthly salary and a security deposit of USD 2,500 in the form of a bank guarantee with the Indian mission.

Under these regulations the minimum age of hiring will be 30 years and require their employers to provide its contract workers with mobile phones.

The Indian government declared that these measures have been announced for the welfare of its emigrant women workers, especially.

The new measures cover maids, butlers, cooks and drivers employed in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Libya, Jordan, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Brunei, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Iraq also will be included in the list when India permits its citizens to emigrate as contract workers in that country. The Indian government said since women are especially vulnerable the new restrictions had to be applied.

As further measures to protect women workers, whose passports are marked, Emigration Check Required (ECR), the employer will be required to register the employer contract with the mission. Only after that the contract could be attested by the Indian Embassy and sent to the employee in India.

Apart from that India is going to sign bilateral labor welfare pacts with Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar.

More than 15,000 Indian women are working as maids in Saudi Arabia, which is negligible compared to the number of housemaids deployed by the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. The policy of not allowing emigration by women aged below 30 and of compulsory attestation of employment documents will apply to all women holding ECR passports.

The ministry had also set up a hotline to curb the exploitation of women working abroad. The ministry is also going to introduce compulsory skill certification and pre-departure orientation before issuing emigration clearance to any worker. There are more than 1.6 million Indians living and working in Saudi Arabia.

- Asian Tribune -

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