The decision was taken in the second annual meeting of the heads of Indian missions in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries besides Malaysia, Jordan, Libya and Yemen which concluded here today.
The meeting discussed measures which will enable the Indian missions abroad to play a statutory role in the protection and welfare of overseas Indian workers. The measures will be incorporated in the Emigration Act, 1983 by making the necessary amendments in it, sources said.
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, who described the two-day conference as successful, said missions' heads were asked to evolve a method to enable overseas Indian workers, particularly household workers, access their home missions for help.
The conference approved a package of policy measures specifying a minimum wage, a 24x7 helpline, establishing shelters for runaway maids, legal assistance and health care support. These measures will be channeled through overseas workers resource centres to be outsourced, an official statement said.
The ministry decided to launch a nationwide awareness campaign to educate potential emigrants on the risks of illegal migration and the need to follow the emigration clearance procedures. It was also decided to start a national pre-departure orientation and skill upgradation programme to help emigrant workers move up the wage chain and benefit from emerging job opportunities. Heads of missions will identify sectors that should be targeted and skill sets required to be built based on the local demand.
The conference also recommended signing of bilateral MoUs with all the GCC and other major labour-receiving countries for the protection and welfare of overseas Indian workers. It finalised a model work contract specifying basic monthly salary, working hours, overtime pay, payment by cheque, termination of service contract incoporating clauses for employee and employers, free transportation and medical check-up.
The model contract will be applied with necessary country-specific modifications for all the countries. It will be mandatory for all work contracts to be attested by the Indian missions, the statement said.