The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Centre caution for Maldives migrants

Chennai, Jan. 6: With Chennai emerging as a major exit point for Indian migrants to Maldives, the Centre has sent a cautionary notice to Tamil Nadu, saying “some of the employers in Maldives and their recruiting agents in India are causing hardships to the Indian workers”.

The agents were not willing to cooperate in solving the problems of the Indians recruited to work in Maldives, the communiqué from the central labour ministry said. It added that work contracts might be “tempting” and job seekers may be lured to take a “tourist visa” to Maldives, as it often happens with those going to the Gulf, in the hope that they could be later converted to “work permits”.

These problems arise as most people from Tamil Nadu “do not go through registered or authorised recruiting agents even 20 years after the labour ministry had been instrumental in getting the government enact a law for the purpose”, said protector of emigrants G. Parthasarathy.

Therefore, not only recruiting agencies, but even companies abroad, were manipulating procedures, he added. Recently, several thousand job seekers were declared “illegal workers” and repatriated to Tamil Nadu from Malaysia as they had gone there on “visit visas”.

Job hunters are often not aware of the track record of companies that are offering a contract due to lack of proper guidance. In Malaysia, for instance, 70 companies have been “blacklisted”. But the demand for labour from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is so huge that the thinly-staffed Indian embassy there is not in a position to verify the credentials of each and every company, Parthasarathy said. People seeking employment in Maldives have been advised by the Centre to take adequate precautions. They would be better off if they went through the nearby office of the protector of emigrants, the communiqué said.

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