BENGALURU: Kannadigas forced to head all the way to Chennai to get their emigration clearance to work in 18 countries, mainly in the Middle East, can look forward to a major convenience in future - getting the clearance done at the Regional Passport Office in Koramangala.
The proposal, which was mooted by former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in January 2018 to open a Protector of Emigrants (PoE) office in Karnataka has recently picked up some momentum.
Regional Passport Officer Bharath Kumar Khutati told The New Indian Express, “The Central Public Works department has recently sent an estimate to the Ministry of External Affairs for the proposed Videsh Bhavan to come up at the passport office in Koramangala. A Protector of Emigrants Office will come up as well as the regional office of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations will be shifted to this building.”
This will ensure that all the offices falling under the Ministry of External Affairs in the state come under one roof and help in better co-ordination among all the departments,
“It will particularly help those requiring emigration clearances on their passports to work abroad who currently go up to Chennai for the same. Those from North Karnataka end up travelling very long distances to get the permission,” Khutati added.
Emigration Check Required (ECR) passports are mandatory for the unskilled labour force who head for work in 18 countries, including Malaysia, Sudan, Libya, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria and Lebanon.
Nearly 5,000 people from Karnataka applied for emigration clearances in 2017 with a huge chunk of them going through recruiting agents.
Drivers, housemaids, construction workers and hotel employees dominate the section seeking ECR.
Asked about the time frame, the RPO said, “It could in about two years time from now.”
On the space availability at the Koramangala office, the regional passport office said that the office had surplus space and would be sufficient for all the offices.”