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20 Feb, 2012

Extensive Policy Research to Boost Job-Creation for Indians Overseas


Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, 14 February 2012 – The following report outlines the work and activities of the Indian Council of Overseas Employment (ICOE), set up by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in 2008 with a mandate “to devise and execute medium to long term strategies to enable Indian emigrant workers and professionals to move up the value chain and to position India as a preferred source of qualified, skilled and trained human resources across a wide gamut of sectors.”

The ICOE serves as a think tank on all matters relating to International Migration. It undertakes empirical, analytical and policy related research, implements pilot projects to document good practices and assists in capacity building of stakeholders at the sub-national level.

The Council has a two-tier body comprising of a Governing Body and an Executive Directorate. The Governing Body provides the broad policy framework for the programmes and activities of the Council. The Governing Body is headed by Secretary, MOIA who is the Chairman while the other Members include the Secretaries or their representatives from the Department of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Labour and Employment; Secretaries of three State Governments by rotation and four external nominees. The Chief Executive Officer functions as Member Secretary of the Council.

ICOE is building strong research partnerships with institutions of international repute as well as multilateral organisations. Some of the partner institutions include:

• European University Institute (EUI), Florence, Italy

• International Organization for Migration (IOM), India

• Migration Policy Institute (MPI), Washington, USA

• Hellenic Migration Policy Institute, Athens, Greece

• V. V. Giri National Labour Institute, India

• UN Women, India

ICOE also works closely with the following institutions which have partnered with MOIA for various research initiatives:

• Center for Development Studies, Trivandrum, India

• Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India

• Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

• International Migration Institute (IMI), University of Oxford, UK

• University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Initiatives of ICOE

  • Skill Development Initiative for Potential Migrants from the North-Eastern States of India is a pilot project currently underway in eight North-Eastern states in partnership with International Organization for Migration (IOM). The objective of the project is to provide job readiness and augment employability of the potential overseas migrants, in the international labour market, especially high demand sectors of hospitality & healthcare. The project will develop standards and an internationally recognized framework for skills upgradation, assessment, accreditation & certification. The project will be scaled up at national level.
  • Developing a Knowledgebase for Policymaking on India–EU Migration project is being implemented in partnership with EUI, Florence, with an objective to consolidate a constructive dialogue between the EU and India on migration covering all migration-related aspects. The project is co-financed by European Commission (EC).The objective of the project is to assemble high-level Indian-EU expertise in major disciplines that deal with migration (demography, economics, law, sociology and politics) with a view to building up migration studies in India and to provide the Government of India as well as the European Union, its Member States, the state governments, academia and civil society, with evidence-based policy-oriented research, capacity building, and outreach programmes at sub-national level.
  • Study on Health of Migrant Workers from India in the Gulf is being undertaken by ICOE in collaboration with WHO and IOM in three major Indian states of origin (Kerala, Andhra, Pradesh, Punjab), and in the UAE, Oman and Bahrain. The scope of the study is to understand the etiology of the high incidence of hypertension, gestational diabetes and depression amongst Indian workers, relative to their counterparts in India as well as in comparison with other ethnic groups.
  • Empowerment of Women Migrant Workers in the Gulf is a pilot project instituted by ICOE in collaboration with UN Women for empowering women migrant workers in the Gulf. The project will be implemented over a period of two years in select districts of two major states of origin for women migrants workers, Andhra Pradesh & Kerala. The project aims to institutionalize ‘good practices’ in the entire cycle of migration from pre-departure to return and resettlement through a series of awareness and capacity building programmes covering all stakeholders in the migration process.
  • Labour Market Assessment (LMA) of six European countries was conducted by ICOE in partnership with IOM to present a market overview and sectoral opportunities in the labor markets in respective countries. The LMA also provided broad-based as well as short-term recommendations for potential improvement on the supply side of labour mobility in India. The second phase of Labour Market Assessment will be carried out in select EU Member States, Australia and Canada.
  • Research Project on the Movement of Indian Capital, Goods and Labour in Africa in partnership with The Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) – Wits University to create the basis for a realistic assessment of Indian capital and labour in Africa; and inform policy and practice in India. The project will build statistical & data analysis systems and establish institutional links with think-tanks in Africa to support evidence based research. The research outputs will inform India’s engagement with matters of investments and management of overseas Indian labour with particular reference to skills needed. It will also provide recommendations for action to improve labour flows and to engage with the issue of entrepreneurial capital as opposed to direct investments.

The 2nd Employers’ Conference will be organized in 2012 with an objective to showcase India as a preferred country of origin for skilled and trained human resource. The conference will be hosted by Haryana Overseas Placement Assistance Society (HOPAS) and is expected to be attended by recruiters from EU member states, Gulf, South-East Asia and Australia.