Stories of Change

“A well-informed decision of safe migration always leads to a positive end”

Sumit (name changed) a 32-years-old aspiring migrant from Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh comes from a joint family. His elder brother is a returnee migrant from a GCC country who has opted to stay permanently in his hamlet and manage a small grocery store, whilst his younger brother is studying and also helps his father with agricultural chores.

Sumit had no option for surviving, and his recent marriage, along with family responsibilities, made him realize that he needed to find work, which led him to choose to migrate to the GCC countries. However, he was also aware of incidents that occurred in GCC countries as a result of invalid documents, which he learned from his elder brother and other residents of the same village. Sumit had a valid passport, therefore he visited a local Registered Agent and discussed the necessary expenses for a visa and other paperwork to work abroad.

During a community orientation program on ‘pre-employment,’ the ASK team identified that few aspiring migrants in the village are applying for VISAs through various channels to migrate to the GCC countries, and, consequently aspiring migrants were encouraged to opt for safe migration channels only. In such meetings held in the village consistently, Sumit participated and expressed his concern regarding the channel he chose, and also he explained that he recently contacted a local recruiting agent who promised him a tourist visa to work abroad.

Sumit further added “I was unaware that having a work visa is required when applying for a job in another country, and that my brother, who has lived in the GCC countries for the past 9 years and is now settled here, did not have much information to share with me. However, now that I know, I will make sure that I go with a work visa”.

Sumit was told by the ASK team that having a work visa is not the only important document to have; he also needed a job contract, a valid passport, payment of the legal amount, and ECR clearance, among other things. Sumit understood the process well and shared the information with his family, and he decided not to go with inadequate and invalid documents.

Sumit spoke with a local recruiting agent who worked for a company situated in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, and told him that neither he will pay any further fees nor accept a tourist visa instead of a work visa. The agent, who was from the same block as Sumit, reviewed the situation with the Hyderabad-based Registered Agent, following which both the agents completed the necessary paperwork and agreed to give Sumit a work visa. Sumit obtained his VISA and promptly shared it with MRC for verification. MRC officials confirmed that the VISA had only been issued as a WORK VISA. Sumit was also advised by MRC employees to keep in touch frequently and to insist that the local Registered Agent provide him with a job contract, emigration clearance, PBBY, and other relevant documents. Sumit, a few days later received the job contract, which before signing shared that with the MRC for review, and it was found that the remuneration mentioned on the emigrant registration (received in the same duration) and the contract are slightly different. MRC advised Sumit to contact his Registered Agent, who later assured Sumit to provide a revised contract.

Sumit was assisted to adopt and follow a safe migration process by the ASK team, and with his commitment and suitable attitude, he got all the legal and suitable documentation for the overseas recruitment. He paid the legal expenses of Rs. 35000/- directly to the agent’s account and would pay the ticket cost after his journey has been confirmed.

The MRC team interacted with him regularly and also provided pre-departure orientation to his family, which included discussions about choosing a safe migration process when migrating overseas for work and keeping copies of all required legal documents at home (at least two sets) safely for emergency purposes.

Sumit’s voyage has been confirmed by his agent. MRC’s team advised him to register an NRE account before leaving and take care of all the required steps and ask him to give over one set of documents to MRC for record-keeping.

Sumit and his family are pleased that they adopted the safe migration process which will save him from forced labour conditions. and have expressed their gratitude to the MRC and ASK team for their unwavering support throughout the process.

“I’d want to express gratitude to the MRC and ASK team for assisting me in choosing a secure migration path and saving me from experiencing any forced labour condition. I would urge anyone looking for work in the GCC countries to adopt a safe migration process.

Sumit future in the GCC is wished well by the ASK team

The MRC has been established under the project for providing information on safe migration processes, verification of legal documents like visas, legal aid, counseling for migrants and their family members, etc.

ASK is working with the source migrant communities in Bihar and UP who move to Gulf countries for blue-collar jobs. We make them aware and empowered regarding the safe migration process so that they do not become victims of forced labour conditions at the destination. The project is in partnership with Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS), and NORAD which aims to reach 4000 migrants.