Frustrated by India’s ‘policy paralysis’ and ‘non-functional bureaucracy,’ foreign employers turn to Pakistan, Bangladesh for cheap labour


Association of Overseas Recruiting Agents have criticised the central government accusing it of working against the interests of ordinary people and hurting Indian economy.

AORA, which is responsible for recruiting tens of thousands of Indians for international jobs particularly in the middle-eastern countries every year said that the ‘policy paralysis’ in the concerned ministry coupled with the ‘non-functional bureaucracy’ was seriously hurting India’s economy.

In a letter sent to the external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, it said, “Kindly note that because of inaction by the MOIA (Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs) not just the recruiting agents but thousands of job-seeking individuals are getting harassed. This, therefore, defeats the very purpose of forming the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.”

Among their complaints are ‘non-functional e-migrate system and unrealistic minimum referral wages’ set by the Modi government.

The e-migrate system was launched by the BJP government in July just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE to ‘smoothen and streamline the recruitment of Indian workers abroad.’

Under the E-migrate system, the government made it mandatory for every foreign employer to register themselves online. Their details were meant to be inspected by the respective Indian missions abroad. However, only a month later, UAE’s Khaleej Times reported that there were ‘far too many glitches’ in the system, which caused thousands of employment visas to expire.

One employer John Cherian said that he had acquired two visas but because of the ‘slow bureaucracy’ and lack of cooperation from the Indian embassy, both those visas expired.

The government had outsourced the responsibility to run the e-migrate portal to a third party, but the AORA, says that despite its ‘pathetic performance’ the central government simply failed to put the ‘culprits’ in the dock.

A recruiting agent, not wanting to be identified told, “The situation is appalling. The government made it mandatory for foreign employers to register themselves on a portal that never worked. Even the Indian embassy in UAE advised the government to do away with the e-migrate system. But this government simply doesn’t listen. The country is suffering in the process.”

In his letter, which was also copied to the PMO, the AORA president Abdul Wakeel Ansari, wrote about the adverse impact the newly introduced revisions in minimum referral wages were having.

Another agent said angrily, ” The revised minimum referral wages are a joke. According  to this government, unless a sweeper gets equivalent to Rs 25000 in the middle-eastern countries, he can’t accept the offer. Now you tell me, which Indian employer will offer Rs 25000 to a cleaner here? So, clearly, the real intention appears to discourage people from travelling abroad. They are simply not bothered that their decision is making country suffer. And what happened to the prime minister’s tall claims on promoting skill development?”

Exasperated over the bureaucratic apathy, the foreign employers have already turned their attention to other countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.