The two Hyderabad Professors from Hyderabad returned from war zone Libya recently. In the latest update a few days ago Consulate General of India in Iraq informed Prime Minister's Office that around 32 migrant workers from Telangana are stranded in Iraq. Upon this, the Iraq government declared that the migrant workers can go to India only when they pay the hefty penalty of $ 800 for their illegal stay.
All the 32 migrant workers went to Iraq either on visiting or tourist visa for a month. They reached Kurdistan first, later moved to other parts of the Iraq to work at the construction sites. But presently Indian government has banned to travel there due to the prevailing dangerous situation due to internal fighting.
"In the past, some Indian workers did not extend/regularize their visas after the initial one month period was over. They used to work here for 2-3 years and thereafter could exit Kurdistan by paying a penalty of US$ 450. However, since March 2016, the Government of Kurdistan has enforced stricter residency rules. Now, this penalty has been revised upwards to US$ 800 for each month of overstay. After this change, there are a number of workers who are left stranded because they cannot afford the payment of such huge penalties," Consulate General of India in a reply to PMO, which in turn shared the details to Migrant Rights Council-India (MRC-India), an NGO in Mahaboobnagar.
The Indian consulate started functioning from the August since it disbanded its services due to a threat from terror outfits. The 32 workers contacted Indian consulate to help them return to India.
According to the sources, the worker's number could be much higher as there are several persons from other states too.
"Majority of Indian migrant workers here are from Telangana region, who arrived on visit/tourist visas, usually of one-month validity," Consulate General of India said.
Meanwhile, there are about 70 Indians who are working in the war-raved countries like Afghanistan after obtaining immigration clearance. Similarly in Sudan, Yemen there are about 29 members.
Replying to the Right To Information (RTI) application, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said "in Middle East, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand there are 7.8 lakh migrants from India. At least 3.5 lakh workers among the 7.8 could be from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh."
But members of Migrants Rights Council said that "the number of persons from India actually residing in the Middle East would be several times more than the official 7.8 lakh since most of them go to those countries illegally."
"In countries like Iraq and the other Middle East, maximum persons from Telangana go illegally and then face difficulty in returning back to India. Neither Telangana nor Andhra Pradesh did any survey to know the number of migrant workers residing abroad and hence there is no precise data. In Kerala, its government successfully did this exercise," P Narayana Swami, President MRC-India, told TOI.
From India, the maximum migration is from to Saudi Arabia (3 lakhs), followed by United Arab Emirates (2.25 lakhs).
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BY M.DIVYA SRI