The job fair was organised at the Indian Social and Cultural Centre in Abu Dhabi in association with the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: As very few Indian amnesty-seekers turned up at an exclusive job fair for them on Monday in the capital, the organisers opened it for all Indian job seekers who appeared in hundreds since morning.

The Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISC), in association with the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, organised the event at the ISC premises to help the Indian amnesty-seekers looking for a job. Around 28 companies offered hundreds of jobs, mainly technical and skilled, in various sectors across the UAE.

However, only around a dozen amnesty-seekers turned up when the gates were opened at 9am (a total of around 50 came later by afternoon) the organisers extended the opportunity for all job seekers.

Around 1,400 job seekers appeared in walk-in interviews and another 200 people submitted their CVs at the event, Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News. “As a job fair it was a huge success. There was a value for both employer and employee,” he said.

About the low turnout of amnesty-seekers, the envoy said: “We have tried our best to send the message across the community. Still people have not come forward means, perhaps, there are not many Indian amnesty-seekers who want a job,” he said.

Inspired by its success, the ISC has even decided to organise a similar job fair, Suri said.

Ramesh Panicker, honorary president of the ISC, told Gulf News that the ISC will organise at least one or two job fairs a year to help the Indian jobseekers. “We found that there are many Indians looking for jobs and we have to do something for them,” he said.

Among the amnesty-seekers, some of them already have got a six-month visa for job search. Mohammad Kolikkeel, 31, an accountant said, he had to overstay his visa for around two months after his company was closed down. “I attended two interviews and waiting for a response,” he said.

The employers said most of the jobseekers were educated people, including fresh engineering graduates, looking for white-collar jobs.

“Many of them are accountants,” said Reshma Hasnani, a director at EFS Facilities Management Services, who was looking for technical and skilled workers in MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) sector. “However, there were not many suitable candidates for those jobs,” she said.

Echoing the same opinion, another employer added that most of the job seekers are from the south Indian state of Kerala.

Most of the non-amnesty-seekers are on visit visa and some are already employed but looking for better opportunities. Some of them said they knew the event was for exclusively for amnesty-seekers still they wanted to try their luck. Others came to know by late morning that it was open for all.

Naser Ashraf (left), 23, a B.com graduate from Kerala, said he was already on his second visit visa to search for a job. “I am hopeful.”

Stefi Gonsalves (right), 25, who is from Karnataka, said she was working as a cashier at a supermarket but left that job because of odd timing. “I am a web designer and hope to find an opportunity in that sector,” she said.

Sreelesh Padyambath (left), 24, a mechanical engineer from Kerala, who is on a visit visa said he approached at least three companies at the fair.

As Gulf News reported earlier, when the Indian Embassy had announced its initiative to help amnesty-seekers find jobs, very few of them responded. Most of the job-seekers were those who were on visit visa and people unhappy with the existing jobs.