Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit director Marina Sultana called for recognising the middlemen or brokers who are locally known as dalals by bringing them under the purview of Overseas Employment and Migration Act 2013.
‘By amending the current law and policy the middlemen can be held accountable and responsible,’ she told New Age in an interview.
Marina said that Overseas Employment and Migration Act, 2013 does not recognise the role of dalals, neither does the 2016 policy.
‘Either the law and the policy must have to be reformed or space has to be created for formalisation of dalals through liberal interpretation of the rules made under the law.’
Marina Sultana said that the brokers were found providing services to the migrant workers by making their passports, taking them to training centres, completing medical tests, collecting job-related data and sending workers abroad.
‘So, an identity for the brokers can be very useful for them to do their jobs,’ she said.
Referring to a recent RMMRU study, she said that currently the financial and other risks of conducting recruiting business were solely borne by the brokers whereas the recruiting agencies remained invisible from the grassroots recruitment process.
‘Regularisation of brokers in all likelihood will split the risk between dalals and recruiting agencies,’ she said, adding that income of brokers would increase as they would not be the only party liable in case of fraud.
‘It will also lead to enhance professionalism in their business,’ said Marina, adding that such recognition would free middlemen from paying bribes at different points particularly for carrying passport of aspirant migrants.
She said that if the system of recruiting workers through dalals was formalised the recruiting agencies could conduct their business openly. ‘It will be easier for the government to govern recruitment once the whole range of activities is brought under the formal structure. This will increase transparency of the government.’
As the government is committed to serving the migrant community, she said that the highest priority in streamlining the recruitment process of the government should be to reduce fraudulence at the grassroots.
‘In order to bring transparency and establish accountability, the existing invisible functions of recruitment should be made visible. Functions performed by the brokers should be formalised. They should get recognition as service providers.’
In case of dispute, she said that the registered brokers should be able to file complaints to BMET and in the court of law. ‘At the same time, the recruiting agencies should also enjoy the right to take recourse to legal procedure if the dalals commit fraud.’
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