Immigration

Indian Migrant Workers to Get Orange Passports

Indians with non-ECR status would continue to get a blue passport, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

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Indian passports will no longer contain information about the holder on the last page, and those with ECR (Emigration Check Required) status would be issued a passport with an orange jacket, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Jan. 12.

The existing passports will continue to remain valid until the date of expiry printed on the passport booklet. While Indian passports come in a blue jacket, diplomatic and official passports carry white and red jackets, respectively.

“Those with non-ECR status would continue to get a blue passport,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to a query regarding the decision.

A passport with ECR provision is granted to applicants with educational qualifications below Class 10. People holding passports in this category are allowed to leave India only after getting an Emigration Clearance certificate from the office of Protector of Emigrants. The change will affect a majority of Indian blue collar workers moving to Gulf countries for employment.

The last page of the passport, which would be discontinued, contains information such the name of the passport holder’s father, mother, spouse, address, Emigration Check Required (ECR) and old passport number with date and place of issue. The first page of the passport features the photograph of the holder. Since the last page will not be printed any longer, the passport will cease to serve as a proof of address.

Kumar added that a three-member committee comprising officials of the MEA and the Ministry of Women and Child Development was constituted to examine various issues pertaining to passport applications where mother or child had insisted that the name of the father should not be mentioned in the passport. It also examined other cases related to passport issues of children with single parent and adopted children.

“The report of the committee had been accepted by the ministry,” Kumar said. “One of the recommendations of the committee was that the MEA should explore the possibility of doing away with the printing of information contained in the passport booklet such as names of father or legal guardian, mother, spouse, and address contained in the last page of the passport.”

After examining the recommendation of the Committee in consultation with the various stakeholders, and the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regarding Machine Readable Travel Documents, the ministry decided that the last page of the passport and other travel documents issued under the Passports Act, 1967 and Passport Rules, 1980 would no longer be printed.

“The decision to keep the last page of the passport blank has been taken to protect the details contained,” said Surendera Kumar, the under-secretary of policy and legal matters at the consular, passport and visa division of the MEA, the Hindustan Times reported.

The new passport booklets will be designed by the Indian Security Press (ISP) in Nashik. “Till such time the new passport booklets are designed, manufactured and made available to the ministry by ISP, Nashik, the passports and other travel documents would continue to be printed with the last page,” Kumar added.

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