V.K Singh, MoS for external affairs, also said that the MEA has been talking with the US administration and Congress with regard to the proposed changes seeking to reform the H1B visa programme. Photo: Raj K. Raj/HT
V.K Singh, MoS for external affairs, also said that the MEA has been talking with the US administration and Congress with regard to the proposed changes seeking to reform the H1B visa programme. Photo: Raj K. Raj/HT

Crackdown must on illegal travel agents to tackle migrant worker issue: V.K. Singh

V.K Singh, MoS for external affairs, appealed to all the state govts to keep a check on illegal travel agents who send workers abroad on tourist visas or fake documents

Hyderabad: In a bid to address the issue of migrant workers who are sent abroad illegally, mainly to the Gulf countries, the police across the country should come down heavily on travel agents and sub-agents who mislead people and indulge in such activities, said minister of state for external affairs, V.K Singh.

Singh, who attended the first State Outreach programme conducted by the ministry of external affairs (MEA) and the Telangana government on Saturday, also appealed to all the state governments to keep a check on illegal travel agents and their sub-agents who send workers abroad on tourist visas or fake documents.

“This is one of the problems we have not been able to overcome. The Indian embassies abroad often do not know that a worker is there illegally unless there is a problem," said Singh. He added that while the E-Migrate portal, an initiative of the MEA, asks for details of the emigrant and his/her employer, those sent through illegal means do not register themselves on the website.

A letter of intent was also signed between the Telangana government and the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (chaired by Sushma Swaraj, Union foreign minister) for the allotment of land to construct a Vidhesh Bhawan, a branch of the MEA in Hyderabad.

E-Sanad, a pilot programme for online attestation of documents of migrants was launched between the Telangana government and the MEA.

Telangana information technology and NRI affairs minister K.T. Rama Rao also asked Singh to ensure that the mortal remains of migrants are sent back home soon after their deaths.

Rao also said that a second embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could be set up in Hyderabad, given the high number of migrants who opt to go the Islamic nation for work.

Singh said that the MEA has been talking with the US administration and Congress with regard to the proposed changes seeking to reform the H1B visa programme, which if passed, will affect NRIs working mainly in the IT sector. “We have told them that Indians who are working in the US contribute to the economy and have professional acumen and are different from other migrants," Singh added.

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