by Dharmesh Arya
The Govt. of India has proposed to introduce a new Emigration Bill to replace the existing Emigration Act 1983, in view of a paradigm shift in the nature, pattern, directions and volume of migration over the past 35 years.
According to the proposal made by the Ministry of External Affairs, the Emigration Bill 2019, proposes to constitute an Emigration Management Authority (EMA) by the Centre to ensure the overall welfare and protection of emigrants.
The Emigration Management Authority will be headed by a Secretary-level officer from the External Affairs Ministry. The nodal Ministry for all emigration-related matters will have representation from the Home Ministry and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
It will also have representation from the states and the recruitment industry on a rotation basis.
Two new bureaus, the Bureau of Emigration Policy and Planning and the Bureau of Emigration Administration will be set up. These bureaus will be headed by officers of Joint Secretary level and will take care of day-to-day operational matters and will be responsible for all emigration-related issues as well as the welfare and protection of Indian nationals abroad.
The Bureau of Emigration Administration will have offices in different parts of the country.
According to the proposal, nodal authorities will be setup by the respective States and Union Territories that will be chaired at the Principal Secretary level and will have representation from the Home, NRI, Labour and Skill Development departments.
These authorities will work in close co-ordination with other competent authorities of the Central government to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration and address various aspects related to migrants who return.
The proposed Bill makes mandatory registration and intimation of all categories of Indian nationals proceeding for overseas employment as well as students pursuing higher studies abroad.
The Bill has comprehensive provisions including insurance, pre-departure orientation, skill up-gradation, legal assistance, migrant resource centres, help desks, migration and mobility partnerships, labour and manpower co-operation agreements aimed at strengthening the welfare and protection of the Indian work force abroad.
The proposed Bill also takes into account the increasing incidents of human trafficking, illegal recruitment, illicit trafficking of drugs, harbouring offenders under the garb of recruitment or those offering emigration services without due process.
It proposes to provide for stringent punishment in particular for categories classified as aggravated form of offences with regard to women and children.
The Ministry statement proposing the new Bill stated that the Emigration Act 1983, was enacted in a specific context of large scale emigration of Indian workers to the Gulf region