The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju has said that illegal migration, coupled with human trafficking, drugs and weapons smuggling cartels and hawala trade, poses serious threat to stability. In his Opening Address to the first Ministerial Meeting of the Head of Migration authorities of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries and the roundtable on “New Strategies of Management Migration as the Key to a Successful development of Society” in Sochi, Russia today, Shri Kiren Rijiju said that India is committed against illegal migration and will continue to take all steps to curb the same.
Shri Kiren Rijiju said that all BRICS countries encounter serious problems related to illegal migration from the neighbouring countries, along with issues related to human trafficking/smuggling, which is associated with the expansion of number of people located outside the legal framework, proliferation of organized crime, the growing corruption, child abuse and other types of exploitation of human beings. Not only this, human trafficking rackets have increasingly been in league with drugs and weapons smuggling and creates serious security breaches, along with illegal financial transfers in financing various illegal activities including terrorism, he added.
While underlying the positive impacts of migration, MoS (Home) also pointed out the pressure posed by illegal migration on the labour market and social fabric. Shri Rijiju said large scale immigration leads to the fear of erosion of local culture, ethnic and religious unity of the receiving society. As a result, there have been instances wherein the immigrants especially the illegal ones acted as an important destabilizing factor for spreading ethnic tensions and violent riots. Sometimes these issues become highly emotive and threaten the basis fabric of society. India has witnessed large scale illegal migration and its impact on socio-economic and cultural fabric of the society, he added.
Exhorting the benefits of migration and mobility, Shri Rijiju said that emigration in the form of large scale long term brain drain both through the educational emigration and the direct outflow of qualified professionals leads to a significant loss of highly qualified labour force, which is a cause of concern for all of us.
Shri Rijiju said that the migration dynamics in the five BRICS states is probably such that they are playing three potential roles in the world migration chain. Each state is a source, destination or is being used as launching pad for departure to some third countries, he said.
Stating that migration flow is unstoppable in the present era of globalization, Shri Rijiju said that there is, however, a need to make it transparent, safe and orderly by undertaking awareness campaigns to promote legal migration, setting up resource centres, organizing skill development and pre-departure orientation programmes for migrants.
Shri Rijiju said that India pursues a policy of zero tolerance for illegal migration and has taken steps to streamline the formal migration processes. He said that the Government of India has recently launched the e-Migrate Project in this direction and the emigration clearance are being facilitated on line. This is an effort to improve efficiency as well as transparency in the system and also to check any malpractices, he added. In its efforts to look after the interests of Indian emigrants in different countries, Shri Rijiju said that the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has entered into Social Security Agreements with 19 countries. Efforts are being made to have Social Security Agreements with more countries so that the interests of Indian Diaspora in various countries are properly taken care of, he added.
Terming the Joint Declaration of the Heads of the BRICS Migration Authorities as a step in the positive direction to build a framework towards a transparent, smooth and equitable process of migration administration, Shri Rijiju said that through mutual cooperation we all will be benefitted by the mobility and migration of people and also better equipped for dealing with the issue of illegal migration. Noting that India does not have contentious migration issues with BRICS partners, Shri Rijiju said that this should facilitate freer travel of Indians to other BRICS countries through liberalized visa regimes. Migration concerns should be proportionate to the actual scope of the problem and should not discourage movement of persons for genuine pursuits, which can be of mutual benefit of the sending and receiving country, he observed.
Apart from ministerial delegates of the five BRICS countries, the meeting is being also attended by delegations of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).