USTARRED QUESTION No-2138
TO BE ANSWERED ON 04/08/2022
UNRESOLVED LABOUR DISPUTES OF INDIAN MIGRANT WORKERS
2138. DR. AMEE YAJNIK
SHRI SYED NASIR HUSSAIN
Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state :
(a) whether Government has collaborated with any international organization to ensure social andfinancial security of the Indian expatriates during the COVID-19 crisis;
(b) if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor;
(c) whether there are any unresolved labour disputes of Indian migrant workers in Indian Embassies in other countries; and
(d) if so, the details thereof since the year 2017, State-wise and country-wise along with the reasons for the pendency?
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
(SHRI V. MURALEEDHARAN)
(a) to (d): It was Government’s priority to ensure during the pandemic that its impact on Indian workers in terms of loss of employment was mitigated. To that end, the Ministry and all our Missions in the Gulf were continuously engaged with the Government of the Gulf nations to maintain the workers, ensure their welfare and facilitate financial payments due to them.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Aviation facilitated the safe repatriation of citizens stranded abroad to India during the COVID-19 pandemic time through the Vande Bharat Missions (VBM). Accordingly, the Government of India launched the Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support (SWADES) portal as a joint initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), the Ministry of Civil Aviation, and the MEA, aimed to create a database of returning citizens based on their skill sets and experience, who lost their jobs and were stuck overseas and have returned back to India through the VBM. Registration under SWADES is 34118. For reintegration of Non-Resident Indians, a number of initiatives were introduced at both the Central and State Government levels.
The Labour and Manpower Cooperation MOUs/Agreements signed by the government safeguard the specific interest of domestic workers in many countries. Such documents are signed with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates) and Jordan. Ministry has also signed separate MOUs/Agreements on domestic workers with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Further, a Labour Mobility Partnership Agreement for cooperation in manpower was signed with Denmark in September 2009. India and Japan signed in January 2021 a Memorandum of Cooperation on a basic framework for partnership for proper operation of the system pertaining to "Specified Skilled Workers (SSW)” which would provide skilled workers from India an opportunity to work in the Japanese industrial and service sector in 14 select sectors. The Migration and Mobility MOUs/Agreements are also in place with France and the UK signed in March 2018 and May 2021 respectively. They provide the overarching framework for cooperation on migration and mobility related issues. A Labour and Mobility Agreement was also signed in September 2021 with Portugal for recruitment of Indian workers. Letters of Intent (LOIs) for further discussion on signing migration and mobility agreements with Germany (2018), Greece (2022), Denmark (2022) and Australia (2022) are already in place, while Ministry is engaged with negotiations with other identified countries (Mauritius and Malaysia).
The Indian Missions/Posts abroad also utilise the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) to provide assistance to overseas Indian citizens and their dependents in times of distress including in the process of settlement of death cases and transportation of mortal remains to India.
While a large number of Indian workers, particularly in the Gulf, returned to India due to COVID-19, the economic recovery in that region and ease of travel restrictions from India has now seen a steady flow of workers to the Gulf countries. As per the e-Migrate portal total 4,16,024 Emigration Clearances (ECs) were issued for ECR countries during the period 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2022.
Labour disputes pertaining to Indian migrant workers are taken up on priority by our Missions/Posts abroad. As a first step, our Missions contact the Foreign Employer (FE) to explore amicable solution to the disputes. The disputes are further taken up, if required, with the local government and law enforcement authorities including the courts. Economic and legal assistance is also provided by our Missions/Posts abroad to help the Indian migrant workers handle the disputes efficiently. Country-wise and State-wise details of labour complaints registered, as per data available in the e-Migrate portal, are enclosed asAnnexure..