Measures for Safety of Overseas Indian Working Women

The statistics are maintained in this Ministry about Indian workers, including women, holding ECR passports, who seek emigration clearance for employment to any of the 17 ECR (Emigration Clearance Required) notified countries. Indian women in Gulf countries are engaged in various jobs like doctors, nurses, teachers, housemaids, receptionists, etc.

Following steps to address the issue of Indian women emigrants have been taken:

(i) Age restriction of minimum 30 years to all women for emigrating on ECR passports to ECR countries.

(ii) Defining a minimum referral wage for emigrants (fixed by Mission).

(iii) Stipulation of a security deposit per worker from the foreign employer directly hiring Indian worker (US $2500).

(iv) Compulsory attestation by the Indian Mission concerned of employment documents for all women emigrants with ECR passports going to ECR countries.

(v) Pre-paid Mobile phone facility for housemaids to be provided by the employer.

(vi) Establishment of an Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC) at UAE, which provides information on matters relating to workers, processes for attestation of Work Contracts, grievance redressal. The IWRC also operates a shelter for food and accommodation for women workers in distress and extends legal, financial and medical counselling to them.

(Vii) The Government has established Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) in all Indian Missions to provide onsite support to the emigrants in distress.

(viii) The Government has signed MOUs with seven major labour receiving countries, namely, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Oman, Malaysia and Bahrain to lay down the framework for bilateral cooperation for the protection and welfare of workers. Under these MOUs, Joint Working Groups (JWGs) have been constituted that meet regularly in order to resolve bilateral labour issues.

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(ix) The Government has established an Overseas Workers Resource Centre (OWRC) which is a 24 hour telephone helpline in eight languages to provide authentic information to emigrants as well as intending emigrants on various aspects of emigration.

(x) Awareness campaigns through the media to educate intending emigrants about legal emigration procedures, the risk of illegal migration, and precautions to be taken during emigration.

(xi) Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana (PBBY) is a compulsory Insurance Scheme for the protection of emigrant workers against accidents, injuries, etc.

(xii) Indian Missions in the Gulf attend to complaints by emigrant workers including women, and provide guidance on matters of employment, as well as consular/legal assistance where necessary.

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