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Will the ‘Passport to Dream Abroad’ be able to discover new horizons?

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There are concerns about the safety and security of Indian workers when a large labor force is sent to an area where violence is still raging.

By: Priyanka  Saurabh

The process of recruitment of around 10,000 workers to Israel mainly for construction activities by the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments with the help of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a hot topic of discussion today. The Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments have started the process of recruiting about 10,000 workers to go to Israel, mainly for construction activities, with the help of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The NSDC website describes it as a “passport to dream abroad” and a chance to “discover new horizons in Israel.” There are 2,000 vacancies for plastering workers, 2,000 for ceramic tile workers, and 3,000 vacancies for iron bending and frame workers, with a monthly salary of around ₹1.37 lakh (6,100 Israeli shekels).

In such a situation, many questions are looking for answers like – Is the Indian government satisfied with the labor standards of Israel? Are the labor laws in Israel very strict and strong? Is this country a member country of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development? Are there labor laws here that protect migrant rights, and labor rights? Is the Indian government also conscious of the safety of Indians living abroad? With claimed earnings significantly higher than domestic rates, this effort can provide attractive employment prospects to skilled and semi-skilled people of UP and Haryana. This could result in more remittances, reduced poverty, and better living conditions for families back home. The recruitment process may require skills assessment and instruction, which can provide applicants with skills and improve their employability in India and Israel. This agreement may facilitate future opportunities for diplomatic and commercial cooperation between Israel and India.

There are concerns about the safety and security of Indian workers when a large labor force is sent to an area where violence is still raging. Israel and Palestine are vulnerable to potential violence and unrest due to their unstable political situations. Vulnerable workers, especially those with inadequate language skills and awareness of Israeli labor regulations, may be taken advantage of by unscrupulous middlemen or employers.

It is necessary to handle the possibility of poor living conditions, wage disputes, and discrimination. Some argue that there are ethical issues when assisting migration to a country embroiled in conflict. There is controversy over the ethics of hiring people to do work that may indirectly finance operations in areas of conflict.

Trade unions have opposed the move citing emigration rules under the Emigration Act. They are planning to challenge this employment campaign legally. Central trade unions told the media that such a move is against the Indian ethos of repatriating civilians from conflict areas. Trade union leaders alleged that the BJP-led government was using unemployment among youth and workers to further its “politics of hate” to appease Israel.

The rules made in India for workers going abroad state that workers going to conflict areas or places with inadequate labor protection are required to register on the ‘e-Migrate’ portal of the Ministry of External Affairs. Passports issued under the Emigration Check Required Scheme cover workers traveling to 18 countries, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, and South Sudan. Israel is not on this list. The ‘e-Migrate’ system will not be used for people traveling to Israel due to Israel’s attack on Gaza. As per the rules, no recruitment agent will charge more than ₹30,000 as a service charge from workers. In 2019, a report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs asked the Center to draft a ‘migration policy’.

Both governments should provide open and honest communication with potential immigrants, clarify the advantages and disadvantages of working in Israel, and provide adequate pre-departure training and support. To protect migrant workers from exploitation and abuse, it is necessary to have efficient systems in place to monitor working conditions, enforce labor laws, and handle complaints promptly. This initiative underlines the need for strong government and international cooperation to establish a framework for safe and ethical labor migration.

This will include clear agreements on working conditions, wages, dispute resolution mechanisms, and social security provisions for migrant workers. Careful planning, strong safeguards, and international cooperation are essential to ensure safe and ethical labor migration and maximize positive outcomes for both migrant workers and their home countries.

There is a need for more accurate forecasts of labor demand by businesses and sectors in destination countries and a stronger education and training system in countries with excess labor resources. The government should actively involve stakeholders in the formulation of such policies to ensure that the rights and welfare of workers are protected.

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