Women seeking employment in foreign countries

Recently Dammam Police has arrested a Saudi aged about 40 years who pretented to be a civil service employee and deceived a large number of women who applied to the Ministry of Civil Service for jobs with the aim of swindling and blackmailing them.

This need not be a single incident. Women workers are facing many issues like non-payment of salaries, long working hours, inadequate living condition, physical harassment, refusal of leave, etc.

India Government has tightened immigration rules for women seeking employment in labour- intensive Gulf region to protect them from harrasment and exploitation. Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said in Rajya Sabha that government has taken a series of measures to protect interest of women including imposing age restriction of 30 years for allowing them to go to the Gulf region and some other countries for employment under ECR (Emigration Check Required) category.

Ravi said his ministry has also made it mandatory for attestation of employment contract of women under ECR category by Indian missions. The missions will also have to identify the foreign employer before allowing any woman to go the region for work. As per the guidelines of the ministry, a pre-paid mobile phone will have to be given to every household worker by the employer. "If the foreign employer recruits the worker directly, he is required to deposit a security of USD 2,500 (Rs 1.3 lakh) with the Indian Mission," said Ravi.

As per the rules, ECR clearance is mandatory for undergraduates seeking overseas employment in 17 countries. The countries where ECR is mandatory include United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Brunei, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria, Lebanon and Thailand.

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