Repeal amended Rule No.25 of Emigration Rules 2017 hiking Recruitment Charges to 30K INR

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To                                                                                  Date: 21 Dec 2017

 

1)     The Hon’ble Union Minister for External Affairs, India.

2)     The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India

3)     The President of India

4)     The Protector General of Emigrants.

 

Sub: “ To repeal the amendment of Rule No.25 of the Emigration (Amendment) Rules, 2017 enhancing Recruitment Service Charges from 20,000 INR to 30,000 INR by Indian Ministry of External Affairs vide Office Memorandum No.Z-11025/279/2009-Emig dated 15 Dec 2017 and Notification G.S.R. 1510(E) dated 14 Dec 2017 – reg”

 

Hon’ble Minister/PM, H. E. President,

 

Vanakkam!

 

1)     With the tears and agony of the Indian Migrant Labourers and their families, this petition is being sent to you, to repeal the amendment of Rule No.25 of the Emigration (Amendment) Rules, 2017 enhancing Recruitment Service Charges from 20,000 INR to 30,000 INR by Ministry of External Affairs vide Office Memorandum No.Z-11025/279/2009-Emig dated 15 Dec 2017 undersigned by Mr.Bikash Ranjan Mahato, the Under Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs and Notification G.S.R. 1510(E) dated 14 Dec 2017 and the same can be viewed at https://emigrate.gov.in/ext/static/OfficeMemorandum15Dec17.pdf .

2)     It is sad and surprise to note that the Government of India has come up with lame justifications authorizing the Indian Recruitment Agencies to exploit the Domestic Workers, Construction Workers, Low skilled Labourers and other workers of unorganized sectors.

3)     It is very much inhumane, cruel and horrible to notice the act of plundering Indian Migrant Workers by extracting thirty thousand Indian Rupees ( 30,000 INR) through Recruitment Service Charges.

4)     The amended Rule No.25 of the Emigration (Amendment) Rules, 2017 states as below:

"25. Service Charges - (1) No Recruiting Agent shall collect from the worker the service charges more than a maximum of thrity thousand rupees, in respect of services provided by it to that worker and the recruiting agent shall issue a receipt to the worker for the amount collected by it in this regard.

(2) The service charges referred to in sub-rule (1) shall include the following namely:-

(a) scouting and selecting skilled or trained candidates from different parts of the country;

(b) cost of advertisements;

(c) cost of trade test fees, wherever applicable;

(d) attestation charges for certificates;

(e) cost of domestic travel or lodging and boarding for conducting of interviews by the recruiting agent;

(f) recuriing annual cost of enhanced Bank Guarantee, wherever applicable;

(g) cancellation charges imposed by foreign employers on recruiting agents when candidates refuse to travel and want early repatriation;

(h) administrative cost of running head office and branch offices for the ease of recruiting of emigrants.

 

(3) The service charges referred to in sub-rule (1) shall not include the following, namely: -

(a) Embassy or Consular visa fees charged by the foreign Missions or Consulates in India;

(b) pre employment medical check up cost;

(c) air ticket to destination country;

(d) boarding and lodging charges of the emigrant before deployment, if any; and

(e) the goods and services tax as applicable:

 

provided that the charges under this sub-rule, except goods and services tax, shall be borne by the foreign employer.

 

(4)      (a) The service charges shall be collected by the recruiting agent only through digital payments or bank draft.

(b) Every recruiting agent shall give an 'undertaking' as prescribed in annexure-I in stamp paper of rupees one hundred value and shall be notarized.

 

(5) Every recruiting agent shall also display in his or her premises a board indicating the maximum allowed service charge to be collected as well as the mode of payment, along with Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana Insurance charges and Pre-Departure Orientation Training."

 

5)     The Rule No.25 of the Emigration (Amendment) Rules, 2017 has been amended by the Government of India with an only interest to support the profit making business Recruitment Agencies based in India, has failed to protect the welfare and goodness of the economically backward Indian Migrant workers.

 

6)     When the Ministry of External Affairs was able to reason and justify the enhancement of Recruitment Service Charges from 20,000 INR to 30,000 INR through the sub rules of 25 (2) and 25 (3) of the Emigration (Amendment) Rules, 2017, it will be appreciated if the same Ministry was able to identify the facts and vulnerability of the Indian Migrant Workers falling prey to injustice by the recruiting agents and the Foreign Employers leading to suicides, murders, deaths, imprisonment on false accusation, trafficked women forced for prostitution, Human Trafficking and so on.  In fact, the recruiting agent extract all such cost towards the reasons mentioned in the sub rules of 25 (2) and 25 (3) of the Emigration (Amendment) Rules, 2017 from the Foreign Employers.  Further more these recruiting agents again extract exorbitant recruitment service charges from the Indian Migrant Workers without receipts for payments.  There is provision in the Emigration Act or Emigration Rules for the welfare and goodness of the Indian Migrant Workers even to compensate the Workers or their families, on the occurrence of violations, damages and losses due to illegal activities of the India based Recruiting Agencies, Indian Manpower Placement Agencies based at Foreign Countries and the Foreign Employers.  Just repatriating the victim to India from a foreign country on the violations of Recruiting Agents and Foreign Employers is not compensating the Migrant Workers or their families.  The Bank Guarantee of Indian Rupees Fifty lakhs ( 50,00,000 INR) paid by the Recruitment Agencies has never compensated any of the affected Migrant Workers or their families, due to the violations of the Recruiting Agents and Foreign Employers.

 

7)     The Indian Police justify the Human Trafficking of Migrant Workers by the Indian Recruitment Agencies as a help rendered towards the Indian Migrant Workers and fail even to register First Information Report u/sec 370, even prima facie is made out as the Recruitment on Foreign Employment has occurred for the purpose of exploitation of funds to carry out cheap labour and criminal activities of Foreign Employers such as prostitution, non payment of wages and so on.

 

8)     International labour standards prohibit the charging of recruitment fees on workers. The International Labor Organization Convention No. 181 [ Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181) - http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO:12100:P12100_INSTRUMENT_ID:312326:NO ] states that employment agencies shall not charge directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, any fees or costs to workers. The ILO Principles and Guidelines on Recruitment reiterate that no fees or related costs should be charged to workers.

 

9)     Most recruitment agencies representing employers abroad are known to demand very high fees for their services in getting workers one or two year contracts for manual jobs in construction, transport, hotels and restaurants, and other nonprofessional occupations. The situation has become so alarming that many governments in Asian countries of origin have imposed a legal ceiling on recruitment fees and financial or criminal penalties for violations.

 

10) In Bahrain, a promising approach to stopping recruiters from charging workers recruitment fees from the migrant workers is through enactment of a law that bans such charges, puts them under the supervision of the a government regulatory body. Act No. 19 of 2006 in Bahrain mandates the regulation of recruitment by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority, and specifies stiff financial penalties for violations. (No. 19 of 2006).  Bahraini law includes extensive regulations on the actions of recruitment agencies, as well as stiff penalties for natural and legal persons that fail to comply with the law. Bahrain’s Act No. 19 of 2006 on labour market regulation prohibits recruitment agencies or private persons from charging fees to migrants for their recruitment. The same law requires recruitment agencies and employment offices to register with the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) to receive a permit to operate.  Recruitment agencies seeking permits are also required to put down a deposit of BHD 10,000 (USD 26,526) with the LMRA. The LMRA may use such deposit to settle any fines or fees imposed on the recruitment agency for infringement of the law. Article 36 of the 2006 law provides penalties for operating without a license, including imprisonment of three months to one year and a fine of BHD 1,000 – BHD 2,000 (USD 2,652.59 – USD 5,305.19). Penalties may be increased for repeat offenders or aggravating factors. In addition, courts may order the cessation of business or the closure of premises for up to three years, or the cancellation of business registration in the case of repeat offenders. Article 23 of Act No. 19 prohibits any person from charging workers fees in order to secure them a job, and the Act includes penalties for charging recruitment fees.

 

11) When the International Community, International Organizations and Governments were largely advocating for "ZERO RECRUITMENT FEES", it is sad and painful to notice that Government of India has gone against the Indian Labourers and taken the side of Profit making Corporate Recruitment Agencies.

 

12) Thousands of Indian Migrant Workers has been exploited by recruitment agencies and Foreign Employers.  Not even a single Recruitment Agent or the Foreign Employer has been found to be convicted by any of the court within India or any other foreign countries.  But Government of India has spent several crores of Indian Rupees to repatriate and assist such kind of victims fallen prey to Indian recruitment agencies and Foreign Employers.

 

Hence, I request the Government of India, to reconsider and repeal the amendment of Rule No.25 of the Emigration (Amendment) Rules, 2017 enhancing Recruitment Service Charges from 20,000 INR to 30,000 INR by Ministry of External Affairs and also to enact new acts and rules to execute Zero Recruitment Fees with immediate effect.

 

By-

 

Adv. Hubertson,

Advocate,

National Domestic Workers Movement,

​607, Vasu Block, Chitra Avenue,

Choolaimedu, Chennai - 600094, Tamil Nadu, India.



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