Hyderabad: For over a month now, the Telangana government has been making efforts to bring back Telugu labourers who were stranded in Dubai through UAE’s Amnesty scheme.
The scheme, which allows illegal foreign workers overstaying in Dubai to leave the country without penalties, has seen several persons from Telangana benefit owing to the State government’s efforts.
As of October 31, some 413 migrant labourers returned successfully and over a hundred are expected to return by December. This was made possible after the State government sent a five-member delegation to Dubai in late September to make necessary arrangements.
“We spent five days in Dubai visiting all the labour camps to spread the word about this scheme. Those were hectic days as we were constantly working with the Embassy of Abu Dhabi and Dubai to identify migrants from Telangana,” the TRS’ NRI wing coordinator Mahesh Bigala, who was also a part of the delegation, told Telangana Today.
Bigala and the other members finally managed to bring back 100 people within those five days after reaching out to them through local Telugu associations.
“We took it as a priority to offer them financial and legal support as many of them were both homeless and broke. We appointed a couple of Telugu translators, arranged passports, temporary travel documents and helped them get an outpass as part of the scheme,” he said.
The UAE, which is home to 2.8 million Indian expatriates, has seen a high number of people migrate from India in search of work. But over the years, private agents found ways to dupe vulnerable workers by luring them with false job offers. As a result, a majority of workers from Telangana, who fell for these fake promises, eventually found themselves stranded after their travel visas expired.
35-year-old Nitta Ramesh, who returned to Hyderabad on October 16, was one such victim who was duped by a private agent in Nirmal district. “I was told I will be responsible for the cleaning work at a hotel in Dubai and promised Rs 30,000 a month, but I realised that I was cheated upon my arrival. They made me do heavy lifting work for 12 hours a day. I was not given food or clothes and given a cramped room. It was a very difficult year for me,” said Ramesh, who left for Dubai in early 2017.
He, however, was aware of the Amnesty scheme but did not have money to avail it. “It reached out to the India Embassy after one of my friends told me about the delegation from Telangana. They immediately arranged a travel pass and sponsored my ticket to India. I am glad to come home,” he added.
“Compared to other States, people from Telangana are the most affected lot as their numbers are really high. But we are leaving no stone unturned in bringing them back. We are also ensuring that they are rehabilitated soon,” said Bigala.
On October 2, NRI Affairs Minister KT Rama Rao met a group of 30 migrants at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here and promised them alternative livelihoods in the State. He also promised to provide the necessary skill development training.