The immigration and arrival hall at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. Indians who do not require emigration clearance feel the government is restricting their right to travel freely. Image Credit: Agency

  • All Indian expat workers with white collar jobs in 18 countries, including the UAE, are required to register on  www.emigrate.gov
  • They must register their details online from January 1, 2019
  • Failure to do so would mean the worker could face "offloading" while returning from India
  • Indian expats in the UAE have assailed the scheme as “arbitrary”
  • Others seek a revision of the rule

Dubai: Expats in the UAE are questioning Indian government’s move to block their travel from India if they fail to register their details online from January 1.

The recent move to offload Indians holding ECNR passports and flying out of their home country on employment visa to 18 countries, including the UAE if they do not register on the recruitment portal www.emigrate.gov.in has drawn flak.

While some expats are questioning the rationale behind the government’s demand to share their employment details, several of them are questioning the implementation of the new rule, which some described as arbitrary.

Sources told Gulf News that many Indians have raised their concerns and complaints with the Indian missions and the Pravasi Bharatiya Sahaya Kendra or PBSK, which was formerly known as Indian Workers Resource Centre. Some Indians have also taken to social media to protest and seek a revision in the rule.

Speaking to Gulf News, some Indian expats said the government should immediately consider reviewing the rule to give them the flexibility of registering from their country of residence and also to do away with the stringent measure of stopping the passengers from flying if they do not register.

Since this is meant for people who do not require emigration clearance, I do not think that government can stop them from flying out for jobs.

- Bindu Suresh Chettur, lawyer

“The ministry’s advisory about offloading Indian employees not registering online is unwarranted,” said lawyer Bindu Suresh Chettur who offers free legal advice and counselling services at the PBSK.

“Since this is meant for people who do not require emigration clearance, I do not think that government can stop them from flying out for jobs.”

She pointed out that the government has not issued any law or clear-cut guidelines and has not taken enough measures to raise awareness in this regard.

“Just based on an advisory, people cannot be stopped from travelling. Even though it is meant to protect the welfare of Indians, this can be challenged in court.”

Facilitate overseas registration

Ajay Petta Karai, a finance controller in an advertising company in Dubai, said the move to offload passengers is arbitrary especially when they have not been given the facility to register from their country of residence.

A move without clarity

He said there are a lot of practical difficulties that people might face when they go to India.

“The government should give us the facility to register our details from here. Or else, they should not stop people from coming back. At least, they shouldn’t do it on the first instance of travel.”

Mohammad Hyder Bin Moidu, an instrumentation engineer in Abu Dhabi, pointed out that Indian expats already provide details about themselves through various government agencies in India and UAE.

“First of all I wonder why they are collecting such data now. For getting a job in the UAE, there are a lot of procedures approved by both the governments. There are already rules and regulations followed by citizens. This is against our fundamental right of freedom of movement.”

The government should give us the facility to register our details from here. Or else, they should not stop people from coming back. At least, they shouldn’t do it on the first instance of travel.

- Ajay Petta Karai, finance controller

He urged the government to clear the ambiguities about the rule.

Expats like Tabassum Kazi, an academic supervisor in an Abu Dhabi school, wants the government to declare the welfare measures it will offer with the move.

“I have been here for 15 years and working. But I am on a dependent visa. If it is for safeguarding all the employed Indians, then what about me? I feel that the government should have created better awareness about the plan before announcing this.”

Anish Chaudhury, senior manager of the PBSK, said the agency has been told to disseminate the information related to the rule during its weekly awareness campaigns and on social media.

“The information provided on the website maybe dormant for the time being. But in the long run, this data can help the government formulate policies based on the migratory and demographic pattern and also to help with skill development.”

Gulf News did not get response to questions sent to the office of the Protector General of Emigrants who issued the advisory.

What is the new registration

Indians holding ECNR passports and flying out of their home country on employment visa to 18 countries including the UAE should register on the recruitment portal www.emigrate.gov.in The mandatory registration which comes into effect from January 1, is applicable to Indian expats already working in these countries also. They need to register only once while they are on their first visit to India and at least 24 hours before flying back to their country of residence, failing which they will be offloaded.