Take Stringent Action Against Agents Sending Indians Abroad Illegally, Sushma Swaraj Tells States

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj outlined a four-point agenda for rescue or repatriation of distressed workers abroad.


The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said that an illegal migrant would be brought back only after the concerned state government has lodged FIR against the agent. The cost would be recovered from the agent who sent the migrant abroad illegally.

“If a person goes illegally in the second instance, cost would be recovered from the person and his passport would be suspended for five years,” the MEA said in a statement.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held a meeting on Jan. 10 in New Delhi with 12 NRI Affairs Ministers of states and union territories, including Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and 31 senior officials of 25 states. The meeting was held in order to promote safe and legal migration overseas.

“The external affairs minister impressed upon the need of curbing the malpractices perpetrated by unregistered agents who dispatch innocent people abroad on false pretext of overseas employment, and thereafter abandon them,” the statement said.

Swaraj outlined a four-point agenda of the government on rescue or repatriation of distressed workers abroad. This is set to include free repatriation on government cost in case of war, natural calamity and in case of company closure of legally migrated persons.

Swaraj added that these helpless victims are left in a foreign land, without financial support. “The Indian government is hard pressed to secure their rescue and repatriation,” she said.

She also urged the ministers of state to take stringent and punitive action against unregistered agents in order to tackle the menace of workers being sent overseas illegally. She said that since these agents function from the jurisdiction of the state and because law and order is a state subject, it is binding on the state to take an action.

Requesting the states to launch a media campaign to promote safe and legal migration, she urged them to ensure that the potential migrants are adequately skilled.

Swaraj has earlier helped rescue many legal and illegal migrants who reached her through social media. She has often asked those in trouble overseas to tweet her grievances to her to expedite matters.

In August 2017, she said that as many as 80,000 distressed Indians had been rescued safely from various countries in three years since the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office.

She recently took to the social media urging people to reach out to her for help.

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