BENGALURU: Two migrant workers who went overseas through registered foreign recruitment agencies in Bengaluru were rescued by the Protector of Emigrants, Ministry of External Affairs, when they complained to the Indian embassies of unviable working conditions. Last year, Fairoz and Ahmed (names changed) approached registered foreign recruitment agencies for overseas jobs. Fairoz, who was working as a tailor, had applied for a job in a tailoring unit in Johor Bahru in Malaysia. In November, he left for his new job. “I got in touch with a registered foreign recruitment agency in Bengaluru to verify the company’s credentials.
They okayed it and processed my travel papers after I paid them Rs 50,000. The company had assured me and the agent that they would give me a work permit and get me my work visa. When I reached there, they refused to give me the work permit,” narrated Fairoz. He said he refused to work without a permit and after much persuasion, his employer asked him for his passport to get his permit processed. “They made me work for long hours and slowly stopped paying my salary. I was getting desperate because my travel visa had expired. I contacted the agency in Bengaluru, and they told me to get in touch with the Indian Embassy in Malaysia,” he said. Soon after Fairoz wrote to the embassy, he got a call from Shubham Singh, Protector of Emigrants (PoE), Bengaluru.
“I narrated my plight and told him that I wanted to return to India. The PoE helped me get back. I also got a refund of Rs 20,000 from the recruitment agency,” said Fairoz. Ahmed’s story is no different. He got a job with a logistic firm in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. “I went through a registered agency. On reaching Dammam, I was made to work in a taxi call centre for 15-16 hours a day, which is against their laws. They stopped paying salary,” he said. He said his employers refused to give him a company visa and said they would give him a third-party visa instead.
“I got in touch with the Indian Embassy as I wanted to return but could not leave Saudi Arabia without an exit visa. The PoE, Bengaluru, helped me. I am now waiting for the ‘Vande Mission’ flight back to India,” he narrated. Shubham Singh, PoE, Bengaluru, told TNIE that they were able to help repatriate Fairoz and Ahmed and got part of their money back because they had gone abroad through registered recruiting agents.