Kerala to reactivate state-run overseas recruitment arm

August 19th, 2011 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 19 (IANS) After a near-dormant existence for over three decades, the Kerala government has decided to reactivate its overseas recruitment consultancy to tap the lucrative market, Labour Minister Shibu Baby John has said.

“Recruitment of nurses, engineering professionals in various fields is a gold mine for the numerous private sector recruitment agencies that do roaring business,” John said, after unveiling the draft policy of the state’s Labour Department.

“We have decided to fully utilise this segment. For that, we will start a dialogue with various Indian embassies, especially in the Middle East to see that all government job requirements are routed through this agency,” John, an engineer by training, told IANS.

Formed over three decades ago, the Employment Promotional Consultants Ltd has managed to place a mere 6,100 candidates abroad, despite the state being a major recruitment ground for overseas placements.

According to the Centre for Development Studies here, 2.1 million Keralites work abroad with close to 85 percent in the Middle East alone. They also account for a major portion of inward remittances to India valued at around $57 billion by the World Bank.

The previous government, under then chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan, had taken some initiatives for the agency especially with respect to recruitments in the Middle East, but the project did not get the desired results.

Private agencies, on the other hand, make a killing. For placing a nurse overseas, for instance, they charge over Rs.1 lakh for a such recruitment to any of the countries in the Middle East.

“An area we will look into is the huge requirement of nurses in Australia, New Zealand and European countries. We will soon set the ball rolling for that also, because here also it is the private sector makes a killing,” John said.

“We will look for new avenues and these countries have got huge potential.”

The Centre for Development Studies says 15 percent of the migrants from Kerala are women and a huge majority of them are nurses. Women also account for 20 percent of the annual inward remittances, and here again nurses contribute the most.

The state labour minister is accordingly determined to break the barrier and ensure that the state-owned agency does what the private recruitment firms have been doing for many years now.

“We will also take up this issue with the central government.”

(Sanu George can be contacted at sanu.g@ians.in)

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