This post was originally published on 13 January 2016.
Nurses from India can afford to smile again as the Indian Government has promised that it plans to ease recruiting restrictions.
“The Centre has assured Kerala that it will take necessary steps within a week on the state’s demand that the strict norms, relating to the recruitment of nurses abroad, should be relaxed,” Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) Minister K C Joseph said at a news conference.
Restrictions for new recruits
The Central government had imposed several restrictions for 18 countries including the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, Libya, Jordan, Yemen and others. The action was in response to complaints that there were irregularities in recruitment of nurses for overseas employment.
It had said that all nurses recruitment should be done only through the respective Indian missions, be it consulates or embassies abroad.
Losing out on opportunities
Kerala, the largest supplier of nurses overseas, had raised their concern about these new procedures. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Joseph and the Norka Secretary had raised the issue with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during a meeting recently.
While about 1,000 nurses were recruited every month from Kerala to the Middle East, the numbers dropped to 869 during the past eight months. Since then, only 502 nurses were recruited in the UAE, 217 in Saudi Arabia and 150 in Oman.
“We are losing a lot of (job) opportunities. In such a scenario, we (state government) have told the Centre that there should be a re-look into the existing emigration rules,” Joseph said.
He added that overseas recruiters were preferring countries such as Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh due to the strict norms put in place by the Central Government.
At present, the recruitment of nurses for overseas employment is only through three state-run recruiting agencies : Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs Department (NORKA-ROOTS), Overseas Development and Employment Promotion Consultants Ltd. (ODEPC) and Overseas Manpower Corporation Limited (OMCL), Chennai, Tamil Nadu.