Indian Ambassador to Kuwait H.E. Sunil Jain addressed a meeting at the Indian embassy on Thursday evening, highlighting that a visiting Kerala minister and a delegation held a meeting with Assistant Undersecretary for Medical Services Affairs Dr. Jamal Mansour Al-Harbi on Thursday morning.
The visiting Indian delegation was Kerala’s Minister of Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs K.C. Joseph, NORKA Secretary Rani George and NORKA Chief Executive Officer R.S. Kannan also attended the event. Aside from the mentioned members, Indian Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Subashish Goldar and Second Secretary A K Srivastava was present along with several Indian community representatives. The audience participated in an interactive session with the officials.
The India government decided in March that the recruitment of nurses was to be handled by three government agencies – NORKA Roots, the field agency of the Non-Resident Keralites Affairs Department, Overseas Development and Employment Promotion Consultants (ODEPC), under the labor department of the state government, and the Overseas Manpower Corporation run by the Tamil Nadu government.
Speaking on the progress made following the decision, the Indian ambassador said, “Dr. Al-Harbi reconfirmed to us that the MoH is fully committed to the agreement. The MoH plans to recruit 1,000 Indian nurses this year who would be posted in specialized departments at various MoH hospitals such as intensive care units, neurosurgery, orthopedics, etc.”
Revealing additional details on the system of recruitment, the ministry official said to the delegation that the MoH is interested to recruit qualified nurses from India with three years of work experience. The candidates must be below the age of 35. The MoH also specified that the three official recruiting agencies must conduct written tests prior to the interviews and are obligated to review applications from three candidates before selecting one.
Speaking on the topic, Kerala’s Minister of Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs said his visit to Kuwait aimed to follow up on the decisions related to recruitment of nurses, and he was happy with the meeting the delegation held with Kuwaiti officials. He added that he recognized the ambassador for his initiative to take the process forward while voicing concerns over the delay in enforcing the decision which was iterated by the Kerala government to the External Affairs Minister in Delhi.
The minister said, “On an average, we used to send 300-400 nurses to the GCC countries every month. But after the 30th of April, 2015, only 870 nurses were recruited through NORKA to 18 ECR countries, including Kuwait, where emigration clearance has become mandatory for candidates following the new regulation. Indian embassies in these 18 countries must take the initiative to push employers to register through the official portal e-Migrate.”
He also spoke about the views shared by the nurses in Kerela, he said, “Today, there is a growing concern in Kerala. Despite having qualified nurses, we are losing in the job market since we are unable to recruit sufficient number of nurses for the ECR countries. We are keen to have the process expedited.” The minister mentioned that the government has established an NRI Commission with the intention to safeguard the properties of the non-resident Keralites and ensure the well-being of their close relatives in their homeland.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Health (MoH) will send a two-member delegation to Kerala, a state of India, for further talks on the nurse employment agreement reached in October last year where the recruitment of Indian nurses to Kuwait was streamlined to three government agencies.
The members of the delegation are Assistant Undersecretary for Medical Services Affairs Dr. Jamal Mansour Al-Harbi, and Assistant Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Dr. Mahmoud Al-Abdulhadi, who will visit Kerala in February and meet with the minister and other officials for a discourse on the modalities that will effectively allow for the recruitment of nurses without the use of private agents who often indulge in illegal activities.