With mandatory emigration clearance for nurses seeking jobs in 18 countries coming into force on 30 April, hundreds of nurses in Kerala recruited by private agencies were turned back from airports, including some that were heading to Kuwait.
The immigration authorities in all the three international airports in Kerala have stopped giving emigration clearance to nurses going to18 ECR countries, including Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Malaysia, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Thailand and Iraq. On Thursday, immigration officials at the international airport in Cochin and Trivandrum turned back at least three dozen nurses who did not have the emigration clearance from Protector of Emigrants. The new emigration provision follows a ban imposed by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs on overseas recruitment of nurses by private agencies.
The ministry imposed the ban in the wake of widespread complaints regarding corruption and cheating by private agencies. Nursing recruitments can now be conducted only by the two authorized government agencies — Norka Roots, the field agency of the non-resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) department, and the Overseas Development and Employment Promotion Council.
Saying that he was unable to help the nurses turned back on Thursday as immigration wing in the airport is under the federal government, NORKA Minister K.C. Joseph pointed out that the state government had cautioned the nurses against going through the private agencies following the ban.
Several private agencies in the state had gone on a recruitment spree in view of the ban from April 30. Many nurses went for the private agencies thinking that the government would allow all those recruited before April 30 to go. Many of these nurses who paid thousands of rupees to the private agencies are likely to lose the money.
Private recruiting agents have been taking huge sums of money as bribes and commission from nurses for jobs in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The Central Bureau of Investigation has already registered cases against two firms in Cochin for cheating the nurses by taking excess money from them.