Overseas recruitment in India: structures, practices and remedies

Overseas recruitment in India: structures, practices and remedies

The increasing number of emigrants from India for employment over years has resulted in intense transnational transfer of funds in favour of the country.1 The inward flow of remittances to India had been increasing steadily from the 1970s.

This paper is drawn from an exploratory study aimed at assessing the efficiency of the existing institution for governing labour emigration in India with special reference to the overseas recruitment system. It traces the evolution of the current institution from the colonial times and foregrounds its discriminatory rationalities engendering enormous social cost. It tracks the difference between emigration through social network and recruiting agents and looks at the difference of cost and risk involved. By focusing on the unskilled and semi-skilled emigrations
from India, the paper makes an endeavour to determine the discrepancy
between the legal/policy structures and the prevailing practices of overseas recruitment, including strategies of circumventing legality.

Drawing inputs from major stakeholders like intending emigrants, return
emigrants, emigrant households, recruiting agents, Protectors of
Emigrants, foreign employers, emigrant labourers and Indian Missions
in select destination countries, it assesses the transaction costs of the
present institution, identifies its major inadequacies and make
recommendations for an alternative institutional framework that can
effectively counter the many and varied illegitimate and dishonest
activities which have sprung up in the field of emigration and ensure
ethical practices in India’s overseas recruitment sector.

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