Emigration from India
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Agents, real and fake/ 2018
With the Union government confirming deaths of 39 Indians, including 27 Punjabis, working in a construction firm in Mosul, Iraq, the focus has once again shifted on the travel/ immigration agencies sending people abroad, both legally and illegally.
Official data shows there are just 1,181 registered travel agents in Punjab, but various estimates put the number of illegal immigration agents in tens of thousands. These illegal agents still sell dollar dreams to Punjabis due to ineffective implementation of the Punjab Travel Professionals’ Regulation Act, 2012, and rules framed under the Act.
Jalandhar tops with the highest number of 287 registered immigration agents followed by 170 in Ludhiana, 134 in Amritsar and 122 in Mohali.
Harpal Singh, SP investigation of Amritsar rural, says hardly 25% of the immigration agents are registered and rest are illegally carrying out their business through touts. “We do register cases under the Immigration Act and other sections of the IPC as and when any irregularities come to our notice,” he said. The officer said a probe into the 27 Punjabis killed in Iraq is underway. “Since the families are in shock, we are yet to find out which immigration agents had sent them abroad,” added Harpal.
Jalandhar deputy commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma told TOI, “Six DNA samples sent from Jalandhar have been confirmed. I have visited the aggrieved families, but have not yet checked as to who were their immigration agents.” Sharma agreed that a large number of immigration agents do not register with the authorities for illegal activities.
“These are unscrupulous elements and do not want to show earnings to avoid tax. Otherwise, they have to pay fee of only Rs 20,000 per year which is nothing for them as they earn in lakhs from a single client,” added Sharma. According to Hardeep Kumar of IISE Overseas Education Services in Ludhiana, the immigration agents who do not have anything to hide register themselves with authorities
Changing times: More women go abroad to work
Divya A |
Deepa Gupta, 22, a mathematics graduate from Ludhiana, thought it a great opportunity to go to a postgraduate course in Michigan University. Two years down the line, she is settled in the US and has been joined by her widowed mother.
Gupta represents a trend — that of Indian women increasingly leaving home turf for professional, rather than personal reasons. The World Bank’s report on ‘Gender, Poverty Reduction and Migration’ says more women from developing countries such as India are migrating to the West independently rather than as dependents. It also says that female migration indirectly helps alleviate poverty.
Neelam Soni, executive with an overseas placement agency in Delhi says women in nursing, teaching, social and voluntary work, the hospitality industry, data-entry operations, sales and even housework are able to migrate to foreign shores.
Social scientist Mala Kapur Shankardass says that even though a large proportion of female migration can still be explained away by marriage (estimates say 80%) it is significant that 20% of all women migrants leave for professional reasons. A decade ago, less than 5% of women migrants worked She says that earlier, male migrants used to belong to the ‘Employed’ category and female to the ‘Not in the Labour Force’. This is changing. Shankardass.
But Shankardass cautions that Indian female contribution to forex remittances is still not properly documented. Official data largely focuses on male remittances.
Emigration from India