No work permit for Indian women under 30

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Dubai, Sep17 : India has restricted all women under 30 years of age who have not completed high school from being permitted to work abroad. ''This is being done to protect them against exploitation in their place of work or in any other place while they are overseas,'' Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi was quoted by Gulf News as saying.

He said the new measures required all employment contracts to be drawn up directly between the worker and employer and not with the recruiting agent adding that a pre-paid mobile phone card was to be provided by the employer to every female domestic worker to enable her to contact the authorities in the event of any difficulty.

Earlier the age criterion was only restricted to domestic workers but now it has been expanded to all women in the Emigration Check Required category (those who have not completed high school). The instructions came into effect at the beginning of this month.

''All these measures have been put in place after the External Affairs Ministry held discussions with Indian ambassadors from the Gulf countries. The Indian missions will now attest individual employment contracts of women workers who fall under the ECR category,'' the minister said.

The decision came after numerous complaints of harassment and cheating by recruitment agents were made by women who work as domestic maids and those employed in beauty salons.

''We have also planned a helpline for Indian women to lodge their complaints directly with the missions and the Ministry. Some countries have already got the helpline operational,'' he said.


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