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24 April 2024

Nurses wanted for Middle East: India promises to lift curbs

By Joseph George

Nurses from India, especially Kerala, can afford to smile again as the Union government in India has promised the state that it plans to ease recruiting restrictions.

This was announced by Kerala government's Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (Norka) Minister K C Joseph.

The BJP government following complaints that there were irregularities in recruitment of nurses for overseas employment had imposed several restrictions for 18 countries including the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, Libya, Jordan, Yemen and others.

Also Read: New rules for Indian nurses as demand soars

It had said that all nurses recruitment should be done only through the respective Indian missions, be it consulates or embassies abroad.

This, according to Joseph, has severely affected the number of nurses being recruited from India.

Kerala exports the largest number of nurses from the country. 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.

"Employers there are just not willing to go through these new stringent recruitment process," said Joseph addressing media persons in Thiruvananthapuram.

Only three agencies were authorised to conduct recruitments, which further limited the options.

The minister also said that nurses from other countries, especially Philippines were fast replacing Indians in the Middle East, especially in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

A social worker in the UAE who spoke on condition of anonymity told Emirates 24|7 that while the recruitment of nurses had indeed dropped by almost 75 per cent, it had ended recruitment scams.

According to him, agents were charging atrocious amounts as commissions from nurses looking for employment abroad.

"Why should the recruitments drop just because you have to do it through the consulates and embassies.

“Those who want to cut corners simply do not want to go through the legal channels," he said.

In June last year the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the country's premier investigations agency arrested L Adolfus, Protector of Emigrants(POE) at Kochi, in connection with nursing scam in which agencies recruited nurses for Kuwait Ministry Health by taking excess service charges from them.

The CBI in its investigation had found that Adolfus had associated with a recruitment consultant in recruiting 1,200 nurses to Kuwait collecting a total of Rs232 crores (Dh127 million)

In August last year, Abu Dhabi Police along with Interpol had arrested the owner of the consultancy. He, however, has maintained that he has not violated any law.