Abu Dhabi: A new trend in migration of Indian labourers to the UAE was revealed during the amnesty period, said Talmiz Ahmad, Indian Ambassador.

"Most of the skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled Indian workers are from two districts of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh - Nizamabad and Karimnagar - and the same people have turned out to be the majority among the amnesty-seekers.

"Most of them have been cheated by visa agents back home. The agents took huge amounts from them, promising better jobs and pay packages, but pushed them into miserable conditions here. Earlier, the same categories of labourers were from another southern state, Kerala, but the awareness among the Keraliites has helped them to escape from visa cheats," said Ahmad.

Unscrupulous agents

It is a worrying trend that people from two particular districts in a state are targeted by unscrupulous recruitment agents, said the ambassador.

"The same trend was there in Kerala earlier, but now Keralites are more aware about the situation in the Gulf and gimmicks of agents. Such awareness is essential in Andhra Pradesh too. A robust media campaign is the need of the hour."

Illegal workers from Andhra Pradesh told Gulf News that they paid more than IRs 100,000 (about Dh9,000) to visa agents. Sri Ram Reddy, 31, said he paid Rs120,000 to an agent because he was offered a monthly salary of Dh1,000, but ended up with a job of Dh550 a month.

"When that too was not paid on time I had to abscond from the company to find odd jobs," he said.

The ambassador told his countrymen: "I won't say nobody must come here. But they [expats] have to explore the new opportunities back home. Migration must be done legally. Also, expats should not accept inferior jobs which do not suit them," he said.