Workers who returned to Tamil Nadu from abroad seeking job opportunities – Times of India

Chennai News

CHENNAI: It’s been seven months since V Muthilagan returned from Dubai to his home in Cuddalore. He returned with an empty pocket and has been struggling to find a job. “I spent all the money I had during the two months I was stranded there because our employers refused to pay us. And when I came home, I realised that the situation here also is not good,” he said.
Muthilagan has been taking loans to take care of his family of six. “Given the current situation, I’m now worried if I’ll be able to pay them back,” he said.
To ensure that all returnees find employment, the Commissionerate of Rehabilitation and Welfare of Non-Resident Tamils and the public department will be tying up with the industries department. “We may have a tie-up with the industries or the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises department,” said P Senthil Kumar, principal secretary of the public department.
The commissionerate is also in talks with the Tamilnadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC) to help provide loans to workers so that they can start their own ventures. According to data provided by the commissionerate, around 2.5 lakh Tamils have returned from 47 countries between April and December this year. The majority, officials said, claimed they were sent without salaries and are now jobless. They mainly worked as construction workers, fishermen, drivers, and domestic workers. They also served as low grade and mid-level workers in industrial, shipping and private firms.
Officials from the department said that the workers will be likely placed in electronic, construction and garment manufacturing sectors in the state and receive training accordingly. Many reside in Villupuram, Ramanathapuram, Thiruvannamalai, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and other districts. The commissionerate will be surveying the number of people in need of employment and the number of people who will remain in the state after the lockdown ends and those who want to return. “We need this estimate to determine the funds,” said K Ramesh, deputy director of the commissionerate.
A senior official from the industries department said that they would start the reintegration process by the end of January.
A few months ago, the Tamil Nadu Skills development Corporation had launched skill mapping of returnees to help them find suitable jobs in MSMEs and other sectors, which is also underway.
Josephine Valarmathi, president of the National Domestic Workers Movement, urged the authorities to expedite the process since most of the returnees are struggling without any income. She also said that once the lockdown ends, the authorities must ensure that the workers return only after receiving their due wages. “The central government must also enter into an MoU with the foreign countries to ensure that they are paid the minimum wages as prescribed in their country,” she said.