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India Promises New Protections for Migrants

On October 11, 2011

"Corrupt and ineffective" are generally terms used to describe government oversight agencies unable to manage the difficulties facing their citizens abroad. India is making strides to reverse this conception by supporting their citizens across various phases of the migrant experience.

The government established the Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC), a helpline at its UAE embassy, in November 2010. The hotline is heavily utilized by Indian migrants, who have placed over 15,000 calls to the Centre since its debut. Most callers seek legal assistance, in order to overcome the language barriers and other general impediments to foreigners in the UAE's legal system. India recently announced intentions to expand the Centre's services to include rehabilitation, in addition to extending its geographical reach across the Gulf.

India is also in the early stages of establishing a return program for migrants to ensure their economic comfort upon retirement from foreign work. The Economic Times of India suggests that India wants to express its appreciation for its migrant-citizens, whose remittances contribute significantly to the economy, by securing certain privileges for them. These benefits thus far include "resettlement expenses, insurance cover, and pensions." See the full article here.

India's efforts reflect increasingly stronger responses to migrant conditions across the board. These particular measures attempt to balance obligations to India's citizens with host-government relations; the call center provides migrants with some shade of support while minimizing the need to pressure host governments directly, thereby circumventing potential conflict. Though these current practices are imperfect, the promise of their expansion signifies forthcoming advancements to migrant welfare and oversight.