Overseas recruitment in India : structures, practices and remedies
Rajan, S. Irudaya
Varghese, V. J.
Jayakumar, M. S.
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This paper is drawn from an exploratory study aimed at assessing the efficiency of the existing institution for governing labour emigration in India with special reference to the overseas recruitment system. It traces the evolution of the current institution from the colonial times and foregrounds its discriminatory rationalities engendering enormous social cost. It tracks the difference between emigration through social network and recruiting agents and looks at the difference of cost and risk involved. By focusing on the unskilled and semi-skilled emigrations from India, the paper makes an endeavour to determine the discrepancy between the legal/policy structures and the prevailing practices of overseas recruitment, including strategies of circumventing legality. Drawing inputs from major stakeholders like intending emigrants, return emigrants, emigrant households, recruiting agents, Protectors of Emigrants, foreign employers, emigrant labourers and Indian Missions in select destination countries, it assesses the transaction costs of the present institution, identifies its major inadequacies and make recommendations for an alternative institutional framework that can effectively counter the many and varied illegitimate and dishonest activities which have sprung up in the field of emigration and ensure ethical practices in India’s overseas recruitment sector. Key words: emigration, recruitment, institution, social cost, transaction cost, social network, legality/illegality, protection, ECR/ ECNR JEL Classification : J21, J23