KUWAIT: The India government has decided to keep “in abeyance” a controversial decision to make online registration mandatory for non-emigration check required passport holders travelling for work to 18 countries, a notice published on India’s External Affairs Ministry’s website yesterday said. It said the decision to defer the mandatory registration has been taken following “complaints from various quarters” who pointed out several flaws in the rule involving practical difficulties in registering on www.emigrate.gov.in.
An advisory issued by the ministry on Nov 14, 2018 had stated that registration is mandatory and must be completed on the e-migrate portal between 21 days and 24 hours prior to the date of travel. The decision was to take effect on Jan 1, 2018. It had stated that those who fail to register and receive confirmation by SMS/email will not be allowed to board their flights. The announcement had created consternation and concerns among non-resident Indians (NRIs) in Kuwait, with many complaining that decision was ‘arbitrary’ and would lead to unwanted travel chaos as it affects all non-ECR passport holders already working in these countries.
M C Luther, Joint Secretary and Protector General of Emigrants at the ministry, made the announcement yesterday with the approval of the competent authority. “With reference to the Ministry of External Affairs advisory dated 14 November, 2018 on the above subject, it is informed that the ministry has been receiving representations from various quarters, including non-ECR passport holders already employed in ECR countries, regarding difficulties faced by them in registration on www.emigrate.gov.in,” the statement said.
“Indian missions in those countries also have forwarded representations received by them from the local Indian community. In view of the above, the competent authority has decided to keep this advisory regarding registration of non-ECR passport holders in abeyance until further orders,” it said. The statement added if any emigrant wants to register voluntarily as earlier, they can do so.
Many Indians in Kuwait expressed happiness over the decision to postpone the rule, saying that they feel relieved. Some reiterated that the Indian government should allow them to register from their country of residence. The Indian foreign ministry had said that the objective of this registration was to obtain the data of Indian emigrants so that they could be reached without delay in case of any eventuality. “We are not against the online registration. It must be a hassle-free and easy process so that the vast majority of Indians abroad can register,” said Ranvir Chaudhary, and Indian expat in Kuwait.
By Sajeev K Peter