India will seek an agreement with the New Zealand Government to protect the interests of Indian migrant workers and secure them minimum working and pay conditions, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said.
He said while he was heartened to note that the overseas Indian community in most parts of the world were effective partners in progress and development, the plight of Indians on work permits in countries like New Zealand was appalling.
“We cannot tolerate this state of affairs any longer. We need to protect them from being misused and abused. With a youthful population, India will be the largest supplier of human capital to the world over the next few years. But I want to assure my fellow Indians that they will lead a prosperous life overseas,” he told Indian Newslink in Auckland last fortnight.
Mr Ravi was visiting Australia and New Zealand to assess the well-being of the Indian community and discuss with the concerned leaders on ways and means of fostering closer working relationships.
“We have recently signed a Labour Mobility Agreement with Denmark, which will ensure an orderly transfer of migrant workers from India, protecting their legitimate rights of appropriate salary, living and working conditions and other benefits. We would like to sign a similar pact with New Zealand. There are increasing complaints of harassment from workers, mostly perpetrated by employers of Indian origin. New Zealand is a country that believes in fairness and I am sure that the Government here will not tolerate such misuse,” he said.
Mr Ravi said his Ministry had signed Social Security Agreements with a number of countries in Europe, eliminating double payment of social security contributions.
“The Agreements also exempt detached workers from host country legislation, enable portability of pension and prevent loss of benefits by providing totalisation of contribution periods,” he said.
During his visit to Auckland, Mr Ravi addressed three meetings and met a number of individuals and groups. A report on these appears on Page 2.
He also visited the factory of the Kalamazoo Group in Mt Wellington along with India’s High Commissioner Retired Admiral Sureesh Mehta on June 21. The Group’s Managing Directors Odelia and Steve D’Souza assessed them of the expansion plans of their companies.
The Picture here, taken by Narendra Bedekar for Indian Newslink shows (from left) Millennium Group Marketing Director Lawrence Pereira, Vayalar Ravi, Odelia and Steve D’Souza, Sureesh Mehta and India New Zealand Business Council Chair Wenceslaus Anthony.