Government moots providing legal assistance to expats

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Ministry of External Affairs should ensure embassy staff are sympathetic to distressed expatriates.

Published: 14th September 2017 01:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th September 2017 09:30 AM   |  A+A-

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh greets Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who arrived at the state outreach conference organised by the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday | BP Deepu

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a bid to assist expatriates from Kerala caught up in various legal issues, the state government is considering arranging a team of law practitioners informally in host countries to provide assistance to those in distress, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at a state outreach conference organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) here on Wednesday.

Pinarayi said some expatriates were languishing in jail for no fault of theirs and the state government was considering how to secure their release. “The government is thinking of informally constituting a team of Malayali law practitioners in the host countries. Their contact details will be publicised among non-resident Keralites so  they can be of help to those in distress,” he said.

‘Make Embassies Efficient’

The Chief Minister also urged the Centre to ensure at least a few employees in various diplomatic missions, especially in Gulf countries, are well-versed in Malayalam. This will benefit a large number of workers who may not be able to communicate in any other language. “Indian embassies should play a key role in ensuring the safety of expatriates. Also, there is a need to enact a good emigration law,” said Pinarayi.

The Chief Minister also called for a change in the mindset of embassy employees. “For many ordinary expatriates, the embassy is their only refuge. Such people should not be treated as a nuisance by the embassy staff. The Centre should review whether embassy staff have a compassionate stand towards distressed expatriates,” he said.

Foolproof Recruitment

Ever since Norka Roots and Overseas Development and Employment Promotion Consultants (ODEPC) entered the recruitment sector, there has been a decline in illegal recruitments, the Chief Minister noted.
“The government will take strict action against illegal recruiters. However, those going abroad should also think about their job security,” Pinarayi reminded.

‘Maintain Correct Records’

The Chief Minister suggested that, if respective embassies keep an accurate record of emigrants arriving in the country, it will give the government a fairly good idea about them and this will enable authorities to provide help more efficiently in times of distress.
“There should be a proper link between the job provider and the embassy concerned. It should be ensured the workers are taken to the workplace for the first time only from the embassies,” the Chief Minister said.

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