India for 'zero tolerance' policy towards illegal migration

Panaji: India has said that the countries world over should adopt "zero tolerance" policy towards illegal migration.

"All countries should adopt a zero tolerance policy towards illegal migration, smuggling and trafficking. There should be strong laws and framework, which executes strict action against illegal travel agents and intermediates," Indian Ministry of Overseas Affairs Joint Secretary G Gurucharan told reporters here yesterday.

"Combating irregular migration is everyone's responsibility and it requires institutional response which is neither unilateral nor uni-dimensional," Gurucharan said after the 8th Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) of Directors General of immigration on management of migratory flows.

The conference, in which 30 countries had taken part, took a strong viewpoint on illegal migration, he said.

"It was suggested in the meet that there should be inter-country and inter-regional cooperation in an institutional manner," he said.

Trying to get to the root cause of the issue, the meeting recommended that awareness drive should be held in risk-prone areas which are vulnerable to illegal migration, he said.

"It was emphasised the need to go to rural areas in Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and other states, which are identified as risk areas from where there is possibility of human trafficking," Gurucharan said.

The delegates in the conference stressed upon bilateral cooperation to speed up the process of identification of illegal migrants and their return to the country of origin.

"For this, various countries need to join hands and take all the stakeholders into confidence. It was deliberated on how to have international cooperation for the cause," he said.

"It is not enough to create awareness on illegal migration, but also ensure that there the avenues of legal migration should be provided. The concept of migrant resource centre was also deliberated during the conference," Gurucharan said.

Measures to curb illegal migration

Immigration officials of European and Asian countries today commissioned a joint study to ascertain the causes of illegal migration and suggest measures to curb it.

"India will be the focal point to receive the feedback from various countries under this project, which will study the trend of illegal migration amongst various nations," G Gurucharan, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, who chaired the conference, told reporters.

The two-day conference of 8th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of Director Generals of Immigration on management of migration ended today. It was attended by over 60 delegates from 30 Asian and European countries, who deliberated on the increasing trend of irregular migration between countries.

"The study will focus on how irregular migration takes place, what's the manner in which it occurs and what specific steps can be taken to prevent it," Gurucharan explained.

The conference set a deadline of January next year for ASEM member countries to pitch in with their suggestions on the topic, which is raising much concern among various developed and even developing nations.

The countries also decided to launch a pilot project which will deal with skill training and standardisation of testing mechanism.

Gurucharan said the participants emphasised that there should be independent certification and uniform acceptance for certified skills.