Abu Dhabi: A top Indian diplomat said stringent action would be taken against unscrupulous recruitment agents in India who cheat workers seeking employment abroad.
Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian ambassador to the UAE, gave the assurance in response to complaints raised by Indian workers during his interaction with them at Workers Village in Musaffah on Wednesday evening.
The officials of ZonesCorp (Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones that regulates the management of workers’ accommodation) were also present at the meeting.
Many workers complained that recruitment agents in India had charged them hefty amounts (ranging from 80,000 rupees (Dh4,483) to rupees 150,000 (Dh8,405) for arranging an employment visa to the UAE.
The embassy officials said that an agent is not authorised to take more than 20,000 rupees (Dh1,122) for recruitment as per Indian laws.
Many workers said their employers in the UAE were not aware of this hefty sums charged by the agents in India. Many of them were also shocked to find that the jobs they eventually landed were below their expectations and the salaries too were much less than what had been promised by agents back home.
“I was promised Dh950 monthly salary as a cleaner at a five-star hotel but ended up as a cleaner at residential quarters with Dh650 salary,” said B.Kumar from West Bengal.
Raising a similar complaint, N. Alam, a cleaner, said he and many other colleagues found it hard to clear loans taken from private money lenders for paying agents back home.
The ambassador asked the workers for details of the unscrupulous agents so that the embassy could report them to the Indian authorities.
He said he was impressed with the facilities provided at the workers’ accommodations.
“We also took feedback on other aspects including food preferences etc. and passed it on to the ZonesCorp. They were quite responsive and agreed to address the concerns,” the envoy told Gulf News.
Sameer Mohammad Al Haira, vice-president — public affairs at ZonesCorp, told Gulf News that they facilitated the interaction, as they wanted the workers to communicate with their embassy. “We always welcome negative feedback also. Therefore we can solve any problems faced by workers and improve the services,” he said.
Dinesh Kumar, counsellor — community affairs at the Indian embassy, said embassy officials would collect written complaints against unscrupulous Indian recruitment agents from the workers. If the errant agents are registered with the Indian government, their licence could be cancelled, he said.
On Thursday evening, the ambassador interacted with Indian workers at ICAD (Industrial City of Abu Dhabi) residential city in Musaffah.