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26 February 2024

UAE expats make up 50% of new Kerala NRI Commission

By Joseph George

Kerala government has finally set up the NRI commission and announced a team of four members headed by a former judge of Indian High Court.

Justice P Bhavadas has been appointed as the Chairman of the commission.

It will include four members including two active NRI's living abroad and two former NRIs.

Two of the four members of the current team are either living in the UAE or have been in the UAE in the past.

Among the members are Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, an Abu Dhabi-based doctor and head of VPS Healthcare. He is prominently known among NRI Keralites as the one who petitioned the Supreme Court in India for obtaining voting rights to the NRIs.

Dr Vayalil has been appointed as the director of the newly set up NRI Commission.

The second member of the team Bhagwat Singh was a former President of the Sharjah Indian Association and currently lives in Kerala.

The other members include PMA Salam, former chairman of the Kerala state government's Pravasi Welfare Board and Sohan Baby, a Bahrain based Journalist.

“The purpose of this commission will be to safeguard the interests of the NRIs and provide justice to their grievances. As the Director of this commission, I hope we will be able to do justice to all the NRIs and will strive hard in making this commission a way for them to reach out to various State and Central Government departments without any hassles,” says Vayalil.  

The quasi-judicial body, will address all issues of the diaspora including fake recruitments as well as disputes over properties and investments. The commission will meet every three months to evaluate its activities. The commission will allow the diaspora complainants to engage a lawyer  who will be appearing before the panel and the complainant need not waste his/her time for resolving issues.

Currently most of the labour and commercial disputes are handled by local courts with some amount of assistance from NORKA -the Non Resident Keralites Affairs Department that has been set up by the Government of Kerala in 1996.

More than 2.5 million Keralites live abroad and have been one of the vibrant migrant communities across the Middle East and the rest of the world. Keralites repatriate about Dh65billion annually and is a fourth of all remittance India receives from its expatriate community annually.