Agency(New Delhi): The US authorities “encountered” with over 200,000 illegal Indian immigrants in the last five years with the highest cases of 96,917 reported in 2022-23, according to details furnished in Parliament by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) while citing data from American homeland security.
The number in 2021-22 was 63,927 while 96,917 cases were reported in 2022-23.
The total number of illegal Indian immigrants encountered by the American authorities comes to 200,760.
Mr Muraleedharan said the data regarding the number of illegal Indian immigrants encountered by US authorities are based on immigration statistics published on the website of the US Customs and Border Protection.
He said the data is as per the US fiscal year (October to September).
The minister said details regarding the number of Indian nationals who lost their lives while crossing the US border are not available.
“The government accords highest priority to the safety, security and well-being of Indian nationals abroad,” he said adding recruitment of Indian nationals for overseas employment is regulated under the Emigration Act 1983.
Mr Muraleedharan said the MEA has taken several initiatives to promote legal migration.
The measures include Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojna (PBBY) and Pre-Departure Orientation and Training (PDOT) to ensure that migrant workers undertake safe migration and have decent working and living conditions in destination countries.
“Further, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) launched the ‘Surakshit Jayen Prashikshit Jayen’ (Go Safe, Go Trained) campaign in 2018 to raise awareness among prospective emigrants,” he said.
India inked migration and mobility partnership agreements with France, the UK, Germany, Australia, Austria and Italy with an aim to harness India’s demographic dividend, he said.
Mr Muraleedharan said labour mobility partnership agreements or memorandum of understanding have also been signed with Denmark , Japan, Portugal, Mauritius and Israel.
“The ministry is coordinating with state governments and relevant stakeholders to disseminate information on the benefits of safe and legal migration and overseas employment opportunities,” he said.
“Complaints of illegal migration/human trafficking are referred to the State police for investigation and prosecution,” he added.