Support systems are vital in protecting and promoting the rights and welfare of migrant workers in countries of origin, transit, and destination. These support systems are usually provided by Ministries of Labour and Foreign Affairs. Ideally, services such as pre-departure and post-arrival orientation, document authentication, shelter, legal assistance, complaints mechanism, and repatriation should be available for workers during the entire migration process. However, because of gaps and other challenges, civil society organizations (CSOs) are also stepping in to extend further assistance to migrant workers.
Recognizing the importance of support systems for migrant workers, the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) developed and released in 2017 infographics of the services being provided for migrant workers by the governments of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka in top destination countries. MFA also began updating the infographics this 2019 by covering the services being provided by both government and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in both the origin and destination countries. Infographics were also developed on available support systems for countries of destination namely Singapore and Malaysia.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are the top destinations of Indian migrant workers. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is the main government agency responsible for labour migration and foreign relations of India. MEA administers the MADAD, an online complaint system where grievances could be lodged and tracked. It also allows the submission of course or contact details of Indian students who are studying or planning to study abroad. The migrants or their family members could submit grievances through the MADAD. The External Affairs Minister (EAM) directly oversees MEA’s Twitter account where complaints could also be directed, thus are addressed promptly.
A 24X7 helpline is operational to provide information and assistance to migrant workers and their families. In some countries of destination (CODs), Indian Missions are conducting open house to be able to hear and interact with the migrant workers. Additionally, they visit jails and deportation centres to look over detained migrants and see how the government could help them.The Indian social club as well as resource centre are available in CODs to provide a supporting community and various services to the migrants.
Support Systems for Indian Migrant Workers in Countries of Destinationa
Support Systems for Indian Migrant Workers in Countries of Origin