Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan hinted that travel restriction to and from India and the UAE may be eased owing to the drop in Covid-19 cases in the country. A formal announcement would be made if a decision was taken on the subject he said while speaking to the media from the Indian Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2021.
"I am hoping that in the coming days, travel restrictions will be eased as there is a significant drop in the new cases in India. We had some talks and consultations on it on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, but the formal announcement will come from the other countries involved...But I am hopeful and optimistic that in the coming days travel restrictions will be eased considerably so that migrants can travel," he said to Khaleej Times.
The minister is visiting the UAE for a couple of days to attend the sixth ministerial consultation of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, a regional, voluntary and non-binding consultative process between Asian countries of labour origin and destination. It serves as a platform to facilitate regional cooperation on contractual labour mobility, sharing of best experiences and learning from one another's experience.
Muraleedharan also spoke about the pressing issues faced by blue-collar workers and female labourers in the UAE which he said had led to a 'fruitful' discussion at the Dialogue meet. A ministerial declaration was finalised at the meet which gave importance to expat workers and their welfare, he revealed. Ministerial representation from 12 Asian countries where non-resident blue-collared workers come from and six Gulf countries that employ the workers were seen at the Abu Dhabi Dialogue.
EP Johnson, the president of the Indian Association in Sharjah told Khaleej Times that he had met the minister to discuss the same subject and also emphasised that high rates of airfare and RTPCR demands were a hindrance for workers willing to take advantage of opportunities in the Gulf.
"As part of the Saudi Vision 2030, at least 400,000 jobs are expected to be created in Saudi Arabia in the coming years. This is a great opportunity for skilled Indian workers wishing to work in Saudi. We've had several discussions aimed at worker welfare and dialogues about exchange of best practices on this front as well," said Minister Muraleedharan at the Expo.