In an RTI response, the Indian embassy in Kuwait admits that rogue agents and agencies are the root of the problem
A reply to a Right to Information request filed by The Lede reveals that out of the 4,000 complaints received at the Indian embassy in Kuwait, around 50-60% pertain to fraud visas and fake job offers.
The embassy reveals that unscrupulous agents and agencies in India, in collusion with similar elements in Kuwait, are the cause for so many complaints of visa fraud and job fraud.
Talking to The Lede, a senior official at the Indian embassy in Kuwait said that even after bringing in fair recruitment procedures, this fraud continues.
“We are ready to accept the ground reality. But we are not going to sit idle. We are going to focus more on how to rectify this. We don’t want Indians to fall prey to these fraudsters and suffer,” the official told The Lede on condition of anonymity.
The RTI query was sent to the Ministry of External Affairs and forwarded from there to all embassies and consulates in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
“We are ready to accept the ground reality. But we are not going to sit idle. We are going to focus more on how to rectify this. We don’t want Indians to fall prey to these fraudsters and suffer,” the official told The Lede on condition of anonymity.An official at the Indian embassy in Kuwait
Interestingly, even though fraud visa cases and fake job offers are reported by Indian social workers in the other five Gulf countries, the Indian embassies there replied that they do not have such data.
Bino PP, an Indian journalist based in Oman, told The Lede that he has come across several cases of human trafficking, fraud visas and fake job offers in the country.
“We all know that many Indians are still duped. While some get fake job offers others are cheated on the visa front. Contract duplication is also very common. Additionally, human trafficking is also happening. Even in human trafficking, the fake visa and fake job offer elements are there,” Bino added.
Last week, a Keralite woman was brought from India to UAE on a visit visa and then trafficked to Oman on another visit visa and forced to work in slavery-like conditions.
Upon her daughter’s request, Bino, his friends and the Indian embassy officials in Oman rescued and repatriated her to India.
“She is also a victim of fake job offer and fake visa. She was told that she will get a work visa later on. She was told that she will earn around Rs 30,000 per month, which also didn’t happen. When she resisted exploitation, she was physically abused. Somehow, she managed to inform her daughters in Kerala and they alerted us,” Bino added.
According to Shaji Sebastian, a social worker in Oman, cases of fraud visas and fake job offers happens in other sectors too.
“Not only in the domestic work sector, it happens in other sectors too. Visas will be different and also jobs will not be the same as has been offered during the time of recruitment,” he added.
As stated by the Indian embassy in Kuwait, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs too states that unscrupulous agents or unregistered agents push the migrants into trouble, but few are acted against, as is evident from the data in the table below.
Meanwhile, Rafeek Ravuther, a migrant rights activist in India, told The Lede that even after Kerala being a literate state, people are still duped over job offers in foreign countries and trafficked.
Citing a case of a woman who had given Rs 50,000 and her passport to an agent in Kerala in July 2018, Ravuther said that the woman was duped and still has not got the promised job nor the money she gave for getting the job.
“More awareness campaigns have to be done. Strict measures to penalise rogue agencies should be brought in. Authorities should also be sensitised on how to enable fair recruitment and also on what can be done in protecting migrant workers’ rights,” Ravuther said.
He added that even students are duped by many fake foreign universities, which is also a matter of concern.
“Recently, Emigration Law was put up for amendment. But it didn’t have enough clear clauses to protect migrant workers’ rights and streamline the recruitment procedures. Luckily, as it was not tabled in the last session of this government in the Parliament, the amended law got lapsed. We are now trying to send inputs to government to make it a better law,” he said.