This post was originally published on 19 November 2018 and the content may be outdated.
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 19 Nov 2018 and does not reflect the update.
India Government has made online registration mandatory for all ECNR passport holders going for overseas employment to 18 countries (including Gulf countries) from 2019.
The rule will be valid for travellers to the following countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, UAE and Yemen.
Starting January 1, 2019, All Indians travelling to these countries for employment have to register online at the government’s e-Migrate portal, or else will be offloaded, the Ministry of External Affairs has announced.
New rule valid for Non-ECR (ECNR) passport holders
The rule will be valid for Indian passport holders who do not require Emmigration Clearance. Earlier only ECR passport holders were required to get prior approval before travelling.
As per the new rule:
- Non-ECR passport holders have to register online 24 hours before travel. They will receive immediate approval by SMS/Email.
- ECR passport holders will continue to apply for Emmigration Clearance.
More than a dozen categories of Indian citizens fall under ECNR status, including income-tax payers, those below 18 years and above the age of 50, and those with an educational qualification of matriculation and above.
ECR passports will be stamped as ‘Emigration Check Required’ while ECNR passports would not have any stamps.
You can read more about ECR and ECNR passports here.
To provide protection and welfare
According to the advisory by Ministry of External Affairs, the new rule is to provide protection and welfare to the Indian emigrants abroad.
“Starting 01.01.2019, no Indian emigrant holding Non-ECR passport would be allowed to go to these 18 ECR countries for employment without prior registration in eMigrate, as a measure of extending protection and ensuring their welfare overseas,” the advisory said.
“Off-loading of unregistered non-ECR emigrants at the airports would be affected by the appropriate authority after January 1, 2019,” it added.
You can read the full advisory here.
Procedure to register online
Indian citizens will have to complete the registration at www.emigrate.gov.in 24 hours prior to their departure.
- To register, visit the website and key in the details at the link “ECNR registration”, and follow the steps to fill the registration form.
- On successful completion of online registration, the applicant would receive a confirmatory SMS/ email.
- This confirmation will have to be shown at the airport from where the applicant boards the flight.
Should you register if you are already abroad?
- One time registration is required for all Indians working abroad, including long term expatriates. Failure to do so may result in denying permission to fly back from India.
- Spouses and children are exempted from this requirement.
- It would be difficult to register from abroad as an Indian mobile number is required for the website to send One Time Password (OTP). However, the number need not be under the name of the expatriate. Registration has to be done 24 hours prior to the date of travel.
About e-Migrate system
Launched in 2015, e-Migrate is an online registration system for foreign employers to recruit Indian workers. Indian citizens with ECR stamp on their passports have to get their jobs offers cleared through the e-Migrate system.
The system was introduced to protect unskilled and illiterate blue collar workers from contract substitution, exploitation and human trafficking.
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 mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, the ministry’s advisory added.