New destinations hold the key to success of India’s international migration policy

India’s endeavor has been in creating a structured and enabling framework for safe and legal migration and mobility for both workers and professionals through bilateral agreements with destination countries, MEA Secretary (CPV&OIA) Sanjay Bhattacharyya said on Thursday.

Speaking at the 7th CII National Conference on Skill Development & Livelihood- ‘Reimaging & Reinventing Skill Development Ecosystem for Productivity, Livelihood & Sustainable Growth,’ he said, “We are updating Labour Mobility Agreements (LMAs) with Gulf countries and concluding Migration Mobility Partnership Agreements (MMPAs) with developed countries in East Asia and Europe. We have successfully concluded 12 such agreements and are in negotiations with several others. New destinations hold the key to the success of our international migration policy.”

He said India is also working closely with GCC countries for harmonization of “our migration platforms to facilitate transparent and legal mobility of the Indian workforce.”

“The eMigrate portal, a flagship project of the MEA, has already completed testing procedures for integrating with the portals of UAE and Saudi Arabia and is in discussions with other GCC countries. This process will make it simpler for our workers to migrate to these countries,” he added.

He said a skilled workforce is crucial for any dynamic economy

“India is surging towards a 5 trillion dollar economy with thrust on knowledge and innovation. For India to achieve the goal of ‘Global Skills Capital’, a skilled and competitive workforce, as per international standards, is essential. It is particularly pertinent in the current scenario, as digitalisation and the fourth industrial revolution have transformed the global landscape and the future of work,” he maintained.

The MEA Secretary said India, with a median age of 29 is advantageously poised for a demographic dividend while most countries are facing an aging population and a shrinking workforce.

“But our window of opportunity is not long, as India has also entered a phase of demographic transition, with its fertility rate falling below the required replacement rate. This is the most opportune moment,” Sanjay Bhattacharyya said.

In an interconnected and globalized world just hard skills are not enough, he said, adding:” We have to move towards building competencies. These competencies include hard skills as well as other attributes such as digital literacy, linguistic ability and cultural empowerment, in order to have an edge in an already competitive global employment landscape. Our endeavor is to provide the environment for higher returns to migrants going overseas.”