Abu Dhabi: Many Indian expatriate groups in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have missed the deadline to suggest changes to New Delhi's new draft Immigration Act which is slated to end on Sunday, the media reported.
The new draft bill will replace the Immigration Act of 1983.
The Indian government had invited public feedback for the new draft law that proposes mandatory registration of Indians going abroad for work; setting up of an Emigration Management Authority to ensure the welfare and protection of emigrants; and strict regulations and penalties to prevent illegal recruitment, exploitation and human trafficking.
A.K. Beeran Kutty, President of the Kerala Social Centre (KSC), told The Khaleej Times that he came to know about the draft bill just three days ago.
"The (Indian) government should have circulated it through official channels and diplomatic missions. None of us even knew about the tweet put out by the Ministry of External Affairs seeking comments. I think we lost an opportunity to study the draft bill carefully and raise our concerns," Kutty said.
India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) President Ramesh Panicker echoed similar concerns, saying: "Not everybody is on Twitter. An important draft bill like this should have been made public through official channels. We got the circular from the embassy just two days ago. Though I have circulated it among our members, there wasn't enough time.
"I hope the government will postpone the deadline and allot more time for the diaspora to give their feedback," he told The Khaleej Times.
Panicker added that he would raise the issue at the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which will begin in Varanasi on January 21.
Bindu Suresh Chettur, a lawyer based in Dubai, said she hoped the government would extend the deadline.
"It is an important bill that affects the diaspora and hence expat organisations should have the chance to get involved."