Punjab cracking down on fraudulent travel agents: Amarinder

Chandigarh,  Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today ordered a blueprint to be prepared for opening of foreign employment bureaus in areas in the state from where the maximum number of people were found to be migrating to the UK.

He said this was being done to crack down on fraudulent travel agents.

The bureaus would be tasked with creating awareness among the people about the opportunities available in various countries based on their educational qualifications, he said.

They would also apprise the people of ways and means to upgrade their skills to facilitate their legal migration into the UK, Amarinder said.

The chief minister’s directive came during a meeting with Andrew Ayre, British Deputy High Commissioner, and Sharan Ghuman, National Community Engagement Lead India, Immigration Enforcement Department in the UK Home Office, an official release said.

The delegation had called upon the chief minister to discuss the problem of illegal immigrants from Punjab in the UK, it said.

When people are made aware about the consequences of illegal immigration, they would get discouraged from taking the illegal route to shift to the UK and other countries, Amarinder said.

Responding to concerns expressed by the delegation on the plight of such immigrants, especially women abandoned by their husbands or being exploited in the UK, the chief minister assured his government’s full support to such women to facilitate their return home.

Such women were free to come back to Punjab and his government had not imposed any restrictions on their return, he added.

Amarinder appreciated the efforts being made by the UK Friends of Unique Home, supported by the British High Commission, to send such women and other illegal immigrants, particularly homeless elderly people, back to Punjab with full respect.

Sharan told the chief minister that there were many such people wanting to come back but did not return out of fear.

She also urged the Punjab government to start some orientation and skill training programmes for those seeking to immigrate, to enable them to get gainful employment in the UK.

Ayre stressed the need to empower the people with the necessary skills for taking up opportunities to work legally in the UK