UPDATE (28 Nov 2018): The decision to make ECNR registration mandatory for Indians flying to these countries on employment visa has been postponed until further notice. The article below had been published on 25 Nov 2018 and does not reflect the update.
According to a recent advisory from Ministry of External Affairs, all Indians travelling on employment visa to 18 countries including GCC countries has to register on a government website at least 24 hours before departure.
The move which becomes mandatory for ECNR passport holders from 1st January 2019 onwards has led to several questions regarding the procedure and if they have to register now or the next time they visit India. Here are some of the frequently asked questions and their answers as stated on the official website:
1) What is this recent Advisory is all about?
As per the MEA’s advisory dated 14th Nov 2018, ECNR Passport holders travelling to 18 ECR Countries on Employment Visa have to Register in eMigrate system, at least 24 hours prior to their departure. Their registration confirmation would be verified by Bureau of Immigration (BoI) at emigration counters prior to their departure. One may go through the Advisory for more details.
2) Is it applicable to those who are already working in these 18 notified countries? If yes, how and when should they register?
No. Those already working overseas are not required to register while they are overseas. However, if they come on vacation and are returning back, on the same employment they would need to register. This is only required one time for a given employment duration.
3) Do investor visa holders also need to register on the online portal?
No. Only travelers on Employment Visa need to register on the emigrate portal.
4) Will it affect when they go on vacation?
If the emigrant has already provided the duration of his employment at the time of initial registration, and the vacation falls within the contract period, he/ she is not required to register again. But in case one has not registered at the time of initial departure, he/ she may register at the time of return from vacation.
5) What happens to ECR category when they get ECNR passport after working overseas for three years?
They will register like all other ECNR passport holders going for employment to ECR countries and they will not be required to obtain EC.
6) Do they have to register again though they might have come through emigrate while having ECR passport? Many of them would not be computer literate.
If they had gone initially through eMigrate, they must have gone through EC route while holding ECR passport. No registration is required for them unless they replace their passports with an ECNR category one.
7) I understand the registration should be done between 21 days to one day before the planned departure. Is that correct?
The requirement is to register at least 24 hours prior to departure to allow sufficient time for information to be passed on to the emigration counter for verification.
8) Could you elaborate on the reasons for implementing this new rule and what benefits Indian workers will receive?
The objective for this registration is to capture the data of Indian emigrants so that they can be reached without delay in case of any eventuality. Implementation of this registration is only phase I of the plan so as to ensure that the system works smoothly and there r are no hiccups.
9) What are the main details that they have to provide for registration and how will you ensure that there is no contract substitution or other types of exploitation?
The information required to be filled is minimal, like name, passport number, country of employment, FE name. This registration has no bearing on employee’s contract. As regards exploitation, any Indian faced with any distress situation already has access to MADAD, eMigrate and 24×7 Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK) to register their complaint/ grievances.
10) Is there any fee involved? If yes, how much and when this should be paid?
Registration is free of cost.
11) Will this cause any concern to the foreign employers?
The registration process is as unobtrusive as it could be, with no impact to the employment contract. There is absolutely no reasons for the Foreign Employers to be concerned about the process or its objective.
12) Once applied, can someone cancel the Registration?
Cancellation of Registration is not allowed.
For clarifications, job seekers can contact Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK) in India on toll free number 1800113090 or 01140503090 (charges apply) or by email at email@example.com.
Published on 25 November 2018. Source: Emigrate.gov.in