India wants to improve the presence of highly skilled workers and professionals through arrangements with Europe, USA and Japan

On account of their contribution to the development of Gulf, Indians are the preferred option for the leadership in the region, Secretary (CPV and OIA) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Sanjay Bhattacharyya said while addressing the 9th Global Summit on Skill Development on Wednesday.

“The leadership in the Gulf has acknowledged their contribution to the development of the region and Indians are the preferred option for Gulf countries,” he said.

“Our embassies and consulates in these countries are equipped to ensure support and assistance for our people. Within the country, we impart skill training for Indian emigrants going for employment abroad under Pre-Departure Orientation Training programme,” the MEA Secretary maintained.

“India is well positioned in traditional labour markets in the Gulf and Europe. India’s success story in the Gulf is well-known and there are over 9 million Indian workers and professionals in these countries,” he added.

“We have an ambitious target of training 500,000 emigrants by the end of 2022 and to expand it to hard sector-specific skills. The training programmes are organized in collaboration with National Skill Development Council, State Governments and Chambers of Commerce and Industry, including CII,” the MEA Secretary said.

“We also organize Training of Trainers workshops for imparting soft skills to our people who are going to work in the GCC countries. Looking ahead, we have initiated a skill mapping exercise with UAE. Further, we are integrating our migration platform, e-Migrate with that of Saudi Arabia and UAE, and plan to take it to other GCC countries to provide transparency and greater opportunities to our workers,” he added.

With regard to India’s share in the European labour market, Sanjay Bhattacharyya said it has also “shown positive signs. A recent OECD study reveals that of the 120 million migrants living in OECD countries, 30-35% were highly educated migrants, with academic and vocational training. India was ranked at the top with more than 3 million highly educated Indians in the OECD countries, which is reflective of the skilled and trained workforce that India possesses.”

“The signing of India-EU Declaration of Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility in 2016 affirmed the shared objectives of better organising and promoting regular migration at all levels, maximising the development impact of migration and mobility for mutual benefit,” the MEA Secretary said.

“We are also working to provide enabling frameworks through Migration and Mobility Partnerships. While the agreement has been concluded with France, agreements with Portugal, Germany, Benelux, UK and Japan (outside EU) are in the pipeline. Several other countries are also interested in such agreements. Combined with Social Security Agreements, they provide a favourable and mutually beneficial framework for mobility of skills and talents,” he added.

The MEA Secretary said India stands ready to improve the presence of highly skilled workers and professionals through mutually beneficial arrangements with Europe, USA and Japan.

“India is well positioned geo-economically and geo-politically to create and provide a globally skilled workforce due to our competitive advantage, the English language, and strong core skills in STEM subjects. Strengthening English and other business language programmes such as German, Spanish, French or Japanese will ensure greater mobility, employability and readiness to join the global workforce,” Sanjay Bhattacharyya maintained.

“The pandemic, perhaps, is the best example of rousing us to the need to adapt and overcome challenges albeit, through an abrupt and disruptive jolt. It has brought into sharp focus that automation and technology is ubiquitous and the future of the world is perhaps more digital than we could have conceived. Work from home has become the new norm. New skills may dominate the new normal,” he added.