Vipul, Consul-General of India in Dubai Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Indian jobseekers should not come to the UAE on visit visas and must authenticate their employment offers and entry permit visas before heading to the UAE, the Indian Consulate in Dubai has said.

The advisory from the mission follows high numbers of calls and visits by Indian workers who have been duped by agents or employers on a regular basis.

In an interview with Gulf News, Vipul, Consul-General of India in Dubai, said the mission does not have the precise data on the number of such calls “because most such calls are complex and raise a variety of issues”.

However, he said most calls about duping are related to workers who come for employment or searching for employment on visit visas.

“We have got several cases of people falling into trouble when they come for employment or for looking for employment on visit visas. There are also cases of women being forced to work as maids etc by dubious agents who get them to the UAE on visit visas as well as sending them to Oman and other countries.”

When serious duping cases come to the notice of the consulate, Vipul said, the mission tries to mediate with the employers to get the passports of workers back and facilitate their return to India.

The consulate issued 225 air tickets in 2016 and 186 in the first half of 2017 to stranded workers.

“In a recent case, in June, we repatriated 27 workers hailing from Uttar Pradesh who came to the UAE in February-March this year and were promised jobs. However, they were not given any jobs and were left to fend for themselves by the agents.”

In another case, 15 people were promised some jobs, but on arrival they were told to work as labourers at a construction site, he said.

In the first half of this year, the consulate received a total of 540 labour complaints of which over 250 have been resolved.

Vipul said those were mostly wage and employment contract related. He said the resolution of the remaining cases is ongoing.

Visa frauds

Duplicate and fake visas are also a problem that the Indian missions in the UAE are fighting.

“In the first six months of this year, several hundreds of fake visas were detected. Typically, these get detected because many people ask us about the genuineness of a job offer and the UAE visa. Sometimes, agents give genuine visit visas and fake employment visas.”

Vipul said such cases are hard to detect in India. “The workers would use the fake employment visas to board the flight from India and present their original visit visa on arrival here. When they gain entry, they realise that they don’t have the offered job.”

To tackle such visa frauds, the mission has issued an advisory to the Indian jobseekers, providing them useful links from the UAE government departments through which they can make preliminary verification of the authenticity of the employment offers and entry permits. [See graphic]

The Consul-General pointed out that the problems of fake and duplicate visas or wrong contracts do not usually occur when workers of Emigration Clearance Required (ECR) passport category come to the UAE through the e-Migrate online recruitment system of the Indian government.

“This is because the consulate shares the list of cases verified by it with the Protector of Emigrants offices in India. The accountability of agents in India is also ensured on e-Migrate.”