As per the report of department of foreign employment, Ministry of India, around Millions of Indians have migrated foreign employment officially and among them thousands were females. However, the actual number of migrants could be much more since significant population also migrates unofficially through the third world countries. The Majority of population migrates to Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Israel to work as domestic workers. The issue of foreign employment was not considered a development issue earlier has recently witnessed some positive changes. There are several organizations running to protect the rights of the foreign workers, they all are working to bring this issue to the main stream of development agenda.
Women foreign workers were leaving to other countries for work, mostly through illegal and irregular processes. These illiterate or semi-literate people usually rely on agents for their jobs, boarding and lodging. They sometime pay double the amount of actual money required to reach the destination but still end up reaching the wrong destinations. There was no serious provision for the recovery of people involved in such scams but recent programs launched by several governments’ agencies and NGO’s has paved down a way for a safe and secured movement in coordination with concerned stakeholders.
Men were always mobile, there has been a history associated with men going to other countries for work and to earn money. The poor men are taken away by rich and trailblazers foreigners to be worked as domestic workers and labourers. But the trend of women labourers migrating to other countries in search of better money is a rather recent phenomenon. As a result of Globalization, women become more powerful, liberal and self-dependent to be able to move out of their countries in search of work for the sustenance of their families. But because women are considered to be weak and fragile, they are more prone to migratory frauds than male counterparts. Women are also afraid to speak against migratory frauds, several organizations are especially focusing on women only, to provide them hassle and frauds proof work in other countries and voice their concerns.
Currently, organizations and NGO’s working in this field receive thousands of cases every year from women who were cheated, paid unfairly, paid mediocre then what was contracted, lost their mental stability and from those returned in pregnant conditions. The programs launched by these organizations ensure proper rights for women migrants along with providing legal help to the victims and their families, if needed. They are also advocating various financial programs to ensure sustainable use of remittance to generate alternatives for the victims and job-seekers. In the past, the Ministry of labor and employment was more focused on the policy reforms working from central laws but new programs have assisted the ministry to develop a new model to decentralize its approach and reach out the local level, it help them establishing coordination from the existing local government bodies to institutionalized the safe migration response in their service delivery mechanisms. Many local and national governments bodies are responsible for the success for these programs launched for these migratory women.
Through these programs, a study was conducted in those destination countries where there were large populations of women and also where condition was considered vulnerable. Some of these countries are Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE). The study was organized in association with various organizations working in this field. The study also includes recommendations to improve the lifestyle of women in these countries and highlights the role of government policies in their betterment.
Traditional Indian values and culture do not allow women to leave their house and opt for foreign employment opportunities. Foreign employment has helped changing the perception about women from dependent to Self-reliable and economic actors contributing not only to the household but also to the country economy. The policies are focused on enhancing the voice of women, to lead and advocate on their issues, both at the national and the international level. Currently, these organizations are witnessing a growing awareness among the people to inquire about the destination countries and its culture and the process involved before leaving for foreign employment. They also assist people based on their capabilities and financial status and help them choosing a right place to migrate. However, the ratio of women migrants is significantly low in comparison to the males but their vulnerability to the various risks is much higher, once ignored issue of foreign employment is now given an immediate importance for the media in the newspapers, ratio and the television. When it came to what’s right and what’s wrong, we often reiterate media is a very powerful advocacy tool. Media has helped a lot in creating awareness among the foreign employment policies and risk associated with them; it increases the accountability of people and reduces the exploitation and violence they are suffering.
We still need to work on the discrete ratio and inequality among the percentage of women share as a foreign employer, women are no longer abducted behind the walls and as they will be empowered more, the percentage will grow up automatically.