Livelihoods of Indian engineers in Kuwait at stake due to new regulation

MANGALURU: Not much help has come from political representatives for thousands of expatriate engineers working in Kuwait, who are now counting their days to be sent back to India, due to new regulations.

On March 11, new regulations relating to residency and work permits of engineers residing in Kuwait from outside the country came as a shock, which may end up in their being deported from that country, if they don’t have degrees from NBA (National Board of Accreditation) accredited colleges.

As per the new regulation, every engineer needs a no objection certificate (NOC) from the Kuwait Society of Engineers (KSOE), to get their residency and work permits.

The move, estimated to affect 90 per cent of engineers in Kuwait, as not many have studied from colleges accredited by the NBA, but have recognition from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). Out of thousands of engineering colleges in India, only some colleges have NBA accreditation for certain courses.

Soon after notification, thousands of engineers, especially from undivided Dakshina Kannada district, did a campaign on Twitter, where they appealed to people’s representatives and Union ministers including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but got no response. With no positive response even after six weeks of their campaign, it has left thousands of anxious engineers in a helpless state in Kuwait.

Recently, a delegation of Indian engineers in Kuwait, had met Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar, and Shashi Tharoor, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, and explained their concern. In return, they have promised to take the matter up with the Indian ambassador in Kuwait. Javadekar also promised to convince Kuwait that engineering degrees from AICTE colleges are more valid than the NBA in India.

“This issue now cannot be debated much because no one can do much about it,” expressed a young engineer working in Kuwait, who recently completed her engineering from a city-based college.

Poor response from Karnataka politicians

A large number of engineers from coastal Karnataka are working in Kuwait, who have landed in the energy rich nation to find greener pastures. However, they have got a cold response from politicians in India, despite their repeated pleas. “Neither local MPs nor the Karnataka government has come to our rescue,” expressed another engineer, adding that they have no hope left in the issue.

Jobs at stake

A Facebook post of the Kuwait Engineers Forum stated that they are going through one of the toughest periods ever. “At present, our job security, our family life and our livelihood itself is disturbed, due to the circular dated March 11, 2018, issued by the Public Authority of Manpower (PAM). Our most important possession, our educational qualification, is being challenged, and the whole Indian educational system is being questioned. Due to this, thousands of Indian engineers are affected, and as per our survey, 90% of Indian engineers are directly or indirectly affected by this decision,” the post read.

[ Apr 11, 2018]