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Migrant workers suffer as agents use fake papers

- SURESH RAJ NEUPANE, NEW DELHI
The issue of fake NOC came to light last week when 16 Nepali women were rescued in Delhi

Aug 2, 2018-Four Nepali women were detained at Chandigarh Airport in India and another Nepali man was arrested from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday for possessing fake ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC). Two weeks earlier, the Indian authorities had detained two Nepali youths at the Delhi airport over the same charge. They later released the two after confiscating their passports.

The recent incidents suggest that foreign employment agents have been involved in a ‘fake NOC’ racket after the Indian airport officials started seeking NOC issued from the Nepali Embassy from the Nepalis heading for foreign employment via Indian airports.

The Nepali Embassy in Delhi has taken a serious exception to the growing incidents of fake NOC, embassy Spokesperson Hari Odari said.

“The Embassy has learnt about the increasing cases of fake NOC in recent times. We have also launched our own investigation into such incidents. We are preparing to send out a formal request to the Indian Police to tighten screws on such incidents that are taking place on Indian soil.”

Odari, however, claimed that the foreign employment agents would not be able to fly any Nepali with fake NOC if the Indian authorities tighten checkings at the airports.

“We have been sending details of each bona fide NOC issued to the Indian immigration, airport authority and External Affairs Ministry on daily basis. We have requested them not to allow prospective Nepali migrant workers carrying any other documents,” said Odari.

The embassy is preparing a report based on the recent incidents to be submitted to the Foreign Ministry in Kathmandu.  

After the growing number of Nepali migrant workers started heading to Gulf countries through illegal channels in India, the government in 2009 made NOC compulsory for Nepalis flying out to eight labour destinations--Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Malaysia, and Lebanon. Based on the Foreign Ministry’s decision, the Nepal Embassy in Delhi had informed the Indian External Affairs Minister, Immigration Office, and airport authority about the prohibition.

In 2015, the government had imposed restriction on Nepali women from going to Gulf countries as domestic labour. It had made NOC from the Nepali Embassy in India mandatory for all Nepali travellers heading for the Gulf from the Indian cities.

Amid reports that trafficking rackets were using Indian cities to fly out Nepali migrant workers to the Gulf and Malaysia, the government through its embassy in Delhi repeatedly urged the Indian authority to tighten checkings on Nepali migrant.

Informed sources say the business of making bonus NOCs has begun after the airport authority in India tightened checkings. The rackets have been using Indian airports in Lucknow, Bangalore, Kolkota, Chennai, Hyderabad, among others, after the airport authorities in Delhi and the adjoining cities started tightening screws on Nepali migrant workers.

The issue of fake NOC came to light last week when 16 Nepali women were rescued from a house in Munirka area of the Indian capital. The airport authority at New Delhi learnt about the fake NOC while enquiring with two of the rescued women. A source claimed that seven Nepali women had already flown to Kuwait and Iraq without legal documents.

According to the Nepali Embassy in Delhi, 60 women were rescued from Indian airports in the fiscal year 2017-18 as they were being sent to Gulf countries.

Published: 02-08-2018 08:49

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