KOCHI: An audit of the last 10 years carried out by the Dubai court found that almost 22 million dirhams of insurance amount due to Indians were lying unclaimed with them. And almost 62 percent of the share belong to those in Kerala, said Musthafa Zafeer O V, lawyer and founder of the UAE-based Musthafa & Almana Associates.
He said this happened because people working in West Asia and their families are not aware of the basic laws of the country and are being misled. To bring about a change in this situation, lawyer-couple Musthafa with his wife Almana will soon establish branches of their firm in Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
It is estimated that over 1.75 million Indians work in the United Arab Emirates alone and more than 58 percent of them are from Kerala, many of whom are self-employed. They should know the legislature in the foreign land before setting up businesses there. “That’s where our services come in. We hope to keep our clients from getting into legal hassles abroad,” said Musthafa.
With this venture they hope to do away with the many misconceptions people in Kerala have regarding laws in the UAE. “People here think UAE laws favour only the locals. But that is far from the truth and when people go there with this wrong notion they get misled easily,” said Musthafa.
He said recently a well-known businessman from the city was duped into investing millions in a hotel in Dubai, which wouldn’t have happened if he had gone through the proper legal network.
“We aim to provide all the legal know-hows to a person before he sets his foot on the foreign soil,” he said. If a person working in West Asia gets into a legal limbo his relatives can help him out from here with the help of their services, said Almana. A law firm specialising in multi-jurisdiction laws, Musthafa and Almana Associates has been helping expatriates for the last 12 years.
As members of the Legal Advisors Panel of the Indian Consulate, Dubai, they are aware of the various problems faced by the Indian expatriate community and therefore their services are not centred around business houses alone.
They help with the labour problems faced by the common man, personal legal issues such as matrimony and child custody issues or even the laws regulating domestic workers. With branches in West Asia and Europe Musthafa said he felt it was important to set up offices in Kerala in view of the increasing number of cases related to human trafficking. “There are a lot of single women working abroad who are susceptible to falling in the human trafficking trap.
But more often they realise this only after reaching the host country when issues get out of hand.
However, we provide a platform where the authenticity of the employer can be ascertained right from their home country,” he said.
Moreover, Kochi being the commercial capital of the state, there is a need for more lawyers who are into drafting and arbitration
“Litigation is just the tip of the iceberg. Legislation is much more than that,” he said.