Interview: Welfare Attache-Dubai

Pakistan maps out steps to raise awareness of services for its citizens in UAE

By Jamil Khan | DUBAI

THE UAE has over 1.4 million Pakistani expatriates in the country. Though some work in the corporate sector, a large number of them are blue-collar workers. To raise awareness on their overseas Pakistani rights, officials in the Consulate have decided to initiate a series of activities.
Talking to The Gulf Today, Asma Ali Awan, Community Welfare Attaché at the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai and Northern Emirates, shared how they were going to handle the woes of the blue-collar expatriates.
“To raise the awareness of Pakistani expatriates, we are going to display all the relevant information related to immigration, protector, overseas foundation, education, consulate services, welfare services, others in Urdu and English languages. These display boards with all the relevant information on various departments of the Ministry of Overseas will be installed in Pakistan Association Dubai, Pakistan Social Centre Sharjah besides the Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Consulate in Dubai,” she said.
To address the majority of blue-collar workers from Pakistan, the officials plan to hold activities regularly in camps with the support of community philanthropists. The official assured that they are conducting various activities for labourers in their camps and raising the awareness of their rights. Recently, the consulate organised two events for workers in their camps on Pakistan Day and Labour Day.
The majority of the Overseas Pakistanis have no inkling of the benefits being offered by the Government of Pakistan including life insurance, compensation in case of injuries, legal advice and other services through Welfare Sections in the Consulate and Embassy, benefits at international airports in Pakistan, investment in housing schemes, education and others.
Every expatriate who is seeking a job overseas has to obtain a protector from the Bureau of Emigration & Overseas Employment. For individuals, the fee for the protector is Rs6,500 and those who seek jobs through promoters have to pay Rs4,500. The fee includes Rs2,000 as welfare fund, Rs2,000 as premium for life insurance and Rs500 for the government exchequer.
Ministry of Overseas Pakistani Human Resources Development organisations have six bodies including Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF), Overseas Employment Corporation ( OEC), Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BE&OE), Workers Welfare Fund (WWF), Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) and National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC).
The government has been providing the re-insurance facility since 2001 which is valid for two years.
The insurance was introduced in May 1982 as each emigrant was required to deposit Rs2,000 as insurance premium to cover life risk for a sum of Rs1,000,000 from the State Life Insurance Corporation and Rs250,000 from the Pakistan Overseas Foundation, where the coverage is valid for two years. To ensure that the government continued with the service, the emigrants have to pay Rs2,000 to get a re-insurance. The fee can be submitted along with an application through their respective Protectorate of Immigrants offices where they were issued the protector for the first time.
Less than one per cent of overseas Pakistanis have been availing the re-insurance facility due to lack of awareness.
However, the staff in the welfare section of Consulate in Dubai are available round the clock as they have to facilitate community members to provide all the required documents.
“In case of death of any community member, the consulate has to provide documents on the request of family of relatives of the deceased and most of time by employers to fulfil the local legal documentation and repatriate the body. For deserving cases, the welfare sections provide financial assistance to repatriate the body to Pakistan as one case needed Dhs4,100, while deserving sick patients want to go back home. The department also extends financial support. It is difficult for such families to bear Dhs15,000 in such cases and request the Welfare section to do so,” she said.
The staff in the last five months have issued documents for over 250 dead persons while they also visited hospitals, jails and families to extend their support to people in need.
-Published At The Gulf Today

~ by jamilkhan on May 23, 2017.

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