THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Government has urged the Centre to waive, for a period of three months, the norm that nurses need to obtain emigration clearance from Protector of Emigrants (PoE) for employment in 18 Emigration Check Required (ECR) countries.
Addressing a news conference here on Monday, Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs (Norka) Minister K C Joseph said he has written a letter to Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asking her to ease certain restrictions on nurses’ recruitment which had come into effect from April 30. “The recruitment of nurses for employment overseas was entrusted exclusively with three government agencies from April 30 onwards. None of the 18 ECR countries, except Kuwait, had taken any steps to recruit nurses from India as per the revised norms,” Joseph said.
Norka-Roots, Overseas Development and Employment Promotion Consultants (ODEPC) and Tamil Nadu Overseas Manpower Corporation are the three government agencies that had been entrusted with the recruitment, he said.
“Some nurses from Kerala who got direct recruitment were turned away from airports since April 30 for want of emigration clearance. In such a scenario, we had urged the Centre to provide emigration clearance to those nurses who got direct overseas employment, without the involvement of agents,” Joseph said.
The Norka Minister said that the Centre should ask Indian embassies in the ECR countries to initiate discussions with the respective governments so that the new norms were followed.
He said that authorities from Kuwait were already engaged in discussions with the State Government and further meetings would be held by mid-May.
“We have demanded that those agencies which have been found guilty of fleecing nurses should be black-listed.
“Steps should also be taken to refund the amount obtained by the agents from the nurses forced to pay them money,” Joseph said.
The Minister said the Centre’s order avoiding the role of agents in nurses’ recruitment was issued following pressure from Kerala which sends a major chunk of the nursing workforce abroad. “However, it needs to be fully implemented across all the 18 countries. By that time, nurses from our country would lose employment opportunities,” he added.
“The Centre should give emigration clearance to direct recruits at least for the next three months before the new norms are implemented in a uniform manner across all the countries,” he added.