Bella Jaisinghani, TNN | Nov 20, 2014, 11.58PM IST
MUMBAI: Around 1,300 workers bound for Gulf countries protested outside the office of the Protector of Emigrants (POE) in Khira Nagar, Santacruz, on Thursday. They claimed that a new software was causing massive delays in clearing passports for emigration.
Around 70% of the country’s emigration clearances are done at the Mumbai POE. “Fifty thousand semi-skilled workers like plumbers, carpenters, masons, fitters, scaffolders and labourers waiting to join jobs abroad are stranded because the department cannot process clearances in time,” said V S Abdulkareem, president of the Indian Personnel Export Promotion Council, the largest trade association of recruitment agencies. Similar protests were reportedly held nationwide.
However, the ministry of overseas Indian affairs has denied that the new e-Migrate software byTCS is to blame. “Only 558 applications were pending in Mumbai as of October 17, and 974 nationwide. Agents are spreading misinformation since the new software reduces their role in passport clearances. Applicants can now check their status online. e-Migrate is designed to ensure safe and legal emigration of workers who are issued Emigration Check Required (ECR) passports. The new system allows paper-less emigration clearance. Recruiting agents and individual applicants need not need visit ministry offices for obtaining emigration,” ministry spokesman Y S Kataria said from New Delhi.