New Delhi: There has been significant drop in the number of Indian workers in Kuwait between 2017 and 2015 but there is no such scale down in other Gulf countries, official sources said here.
According to sources in the Ministry of External Affairs, in Kuwait the number of Indian workers from 70,765 as in 2015 came down to 38,871 in 2017.
There is no scale down in the number of Indian workers in other Gulf countries since 2015.
The Government has signed Labour and manpower cooperation related Memoranda of Undertaking (MoUs) or Agreements with countries that are destination for a large number of Indian migrant workers. These include all the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries namely, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The agreements and MoUs seek to ensure that the respective host country has to take ‘measures’ for the protection and welfare of workers.
Moreover, the recruitment and terms of employment should be be in conformity with the laws of respective countries.
With regards IT professionals issues in Singapore, sources said the Government of India as part of its engagement with Singapore side consistently takes up economic and commercial issues and maintains regular engagement on all matters with authorities in Singapore.
These developments assume significance in the context of Singapore government lately tightening norms for hiring expatriates in that country.
Singapore has in fact slapped several ‘tough conditions’ making it difficult for companies to hire resources from India.
According to market analysts, after H-1B visas in the US, developments in Singapore has added new woes for the companies like TCS, Infosys and Wipro.
In this context, the government sources have, however, said that with matters related to Employment Passports and other concerns of IT firms and professionals, New Delhi has “conveyed at various levels on multiple occasions” that Singapore’s policies should be consistent with provisions of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).
The Indian government wants that all Indian companies should be able to conduct their business in the region without difficulty.
In fact, in this context, Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V K Singh informed Rajya Sabha in a written reply during the ongoing Monsoon session that as a result of efforts by Indian government, a number of major IT companies have conveyed “improvement in situation”.
K C Ramamurthy, Congress MP wanted the government to clarify whether “one after the other country” is rejecting Indian IT professionals.
He also wanted to know how Singapore’s contention is ‘justified’ since it is in violation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Gen Singh, however, denied the claim of the lawmaker from Karnataka. “The government of India continues to monitor the situation and takes up relevant issues in mechanisms such as joint Working Groups (JWGs) and bilateral meetings,” the Minister said.
A comparative statement of number of Indian workers in Gulf, officials say that the number of Indian workers increased in Bahrain from 2,10,081 to 2,27,239 and from 6,50,000 to 6,91,539 in Qatar.
Similarly, number of Indian workers from Oman 6,69,882 in 2015 increased to 6,88,226 in circa 2017.
The sources also said that Indian workers going for overseas employment to the Gulf countries are employed on contractual basis and have to return to India on completion of their contract period which is generally 2-3 years.
Therefore, the number of workers returning to India after completion of contract – from Gulf nations – is not a definitive indicator of any trend that there is a shortfall of Indian workers in those countries.