How to spot a fake job offer
Kerala will launch ‘Operation Subhayathra’ or Operation Happy Journey to crack down on fake recruitments from the south Indian state to various countries. Image Credit: Stock image

Dubai: Kerala will launch ‘Operation Subhayathra’ or Operation Happy Journey to crack down on fake recruitments from the south Indian state to various countries, a senior official in charge of overseas Keralites’ affairs has said.

P. Sreeramakrishnan, resident vice chairman of NORKA Roots, an agency under the Kerala government providing assistance for Non Resident Keralites (NRKs), said the initiative will be implemented in collaboration with the state’s police department.

He was addressing a virtual meeting organised by the Indian media fraternity in the UAE ahead of the Loka Kerala Sabha (global meet of Keralites) and Loka Kerala Madhyama Sabha (global meet of Keralite media persons) scheduled for this week.

Crackdown on scams

The project aims to crack down on fake recruitment agencies and create awareness among the people wishing to migrate.

P. Sreeramakrishnan

“There are many people who knowingly fall prey to such agencies,” he pointed out, while referring to a COVID-19 recruitment scam involving nurses from India who were offered jobs at vaccination and testing centres in the Gulf, which left hundreds of Indian nurses, mainly from Kerala, stranded last year.

The nurses, who did not even have licences to work, had fallen for handsome salaries offered and ended up losing a lot of money given as commission to bogus agents. Major private healthcare groups in the UAE came forward to offer jobs to the stranded Indian nurses, provided they secured licences in three months.

Sreeramakrishnan said: “In many cases, action could not be taken because no complaint was received. Action has been taken in cases where we have received complaints.”

Rehabilitation programmes

Sreeramakrishnan said Kerala is the only Indian state with a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for citizens returning home after working abroad.

Under the aegis of NORKA, a number of relief measures has been taken to support those who returned home during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

Apart from the existing support scheme for starting business ventures in Kerala [NORKA Department Project for Returned Emigrants (NDPREM)], he said, NORKA had launched a new entrepreneurship support scheme to aid the rehabilitation of those who returned after losing jobs abroad and were displaced during the COVID lockdown periods.

“As many as 5,010 new ventures were launched in Kerala during the last financial year through this project titled ‘Pravasi Bhadratha’ [Expat Security] with three sub-schemes,” he revealed.

The schemes offer loans and interest subsidies for entrepreneurs. Over Rs810million was allotted in loans under the NDPREM initiative while over Rs19million was allotted under Pravasi Bhadratha-Mega scheme, he said.

“This year, the Women’s Development Corporation is also involved in the NDPERM scheme. NORKA Vanithamitram Enterprise Loan for Women is a joint venture between NORKA and the Women’s Development Corporation. The loan, with a capital subsidy of 15 per cent at an interest rate of three per cent, is an excellent entrepreneurial scheme for women returning from abroad. The loan is available to women who have returned home permanently after working or residing abroad for at least two years.”

More financial assistance than last year was extended to former expatriates in distress due to financial constraints or health-related challenges through the Sandhwanan (consolation) scheme. An amount of Rs300million was disbursed 4614 beneficiaries under this scheme.

Most beneficiaries from UAE

Sreeramakrishnan said most of the beneficiaries of the state’s welfare schemes for expatriates and former expats are from the UAE, which is home to an estimated 1 million Keralites.

Because of the strong presence of the Malayalee community in the country, he said the largest overseas delegation attending the third edition of the Loka Kerala Sabha is also from the UAE.

“Around 40 people with proven records in various fields and community service are coming from the UAE,” he said.

Loka Kerala Sabha will be held on June 17 and 18 while Loka Kerala Madhayama Sabha will be held on June 15 in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram.