Govt to take up plight of 18,000 Indian workers with UAE

Government assured the Rajya Sabha that it will take up with the UAE government the plight of around 18,000 Indians working without proper documents.

New Delhi: Government on Tuesday assured the Rajya Sabha that it will take up with the UAE government the plight of around 18,000 Indians working there without proper documents and persuade it to grant them visa to enable them to continue with their jobs.

The assurance was given by Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi after members voiced concern over an order issued by UAE government to 18,000 Indian workers to leave the country in three months or face jail term.

"The report has come to us only two days ago. We have asked our Embassy in UAE to take up the matter. The External Affairs Ministry has also been asked to raise the issue with UAE. We have asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to arrange for flights for return of the workers," Ravi said.

He said, "Our report is that they (UAE) are searching for such persons who don`t have valid documents and visa. We are persuading the UAE government to grant them visa...To allow them to work with their employers also."

The members urged the Overseas Affairs Ministry to take up the cause of such workers and press upon the UAE authorities not to deport them.

The government was also urged to make arrangements for bringing such workers back home safely so that they are not harassed at the hands of UAE authorities.

Raising the matter during Zero Hour, C M Ramesh (TDP) said most of the workers were from Andhra Pradesh and their employers had already taken away their passports and making them work even after end of their contract and expiry of visa.

He alleged that that such workers were not paid salaries timely and payments were paid only once in six months.

The TDP member said since such workers were left at the mercy of their employers and the UAE authorities, the Indian government must intervene to save them.

"UAE government is asking only Indians to leave while workers from other countries are continuing. Government of India should immediately take up with the UAE and make necessary arrangements for their safe return," he said.

Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) supported the TDP member and said the government should take note of the concern and come to the rescue of hapless workers.

Earlier, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said the issue concerned Indian workers from all states and was not just an issue of one state and government must take note.