Sunday, November 26, 2006

Indian Embassy in Cairo & ECNR

Visited the Indian Embassy in Cairo today (its near Metro Cinema in the Downtown area) We had to get husbands passport back.

For those who did not know the story, husband had applied for his renewed passport in a hurry in Delhi. At that time he was travelling to Malaysia in a hurry & did not need the ECNR stamped on the passport. He did not realise that it hadn't been stamped at all till he had already left Delhi.

He did not need to use that passport again till he had moved to Bombay. But the Bombay passport office refused to stamp an ECNR on his passport & told him that he would have to go back & get it done in Delhi. But Delhi would not do it because he no longer had proof of residing at the address mentioned in the passport. (Perils of transferable jobs)

I've summed the situation up in 4 sentences, but it took us 3 months to figure there was no option but to keep applying to a labor court & paying 50-500rs for a temporary stamp before each trip abroad which was quite tiresome & iriitating.

Finally got it done for 60LE without any hassle at the Embassy here just on production of a photocopy of graduation certificate. Heard that a 10th standard certificate is now enough for an ECNR stamp. My passport (newly issued this Oct) has this page completely removed. The pasport came back with a little note saying that the ECNR was no longer a required stamp in a passport.

Husband has been having this trouble, solely becuase the notification has not reached the right people & an outdated piece of legislation has costed us more than 500 working hours in the last 3 months before we left Bombay.

Essentially the ECNR (Emigration Check Not Required) was created as a safeguard for Indians who were going abroad as cheap labour. So unless you had a graduation degree your passport would be stamped as ECR (Emigration Check Required)

So unless you had an ECNR, you could not travel to certain countries. Theoretically it was sound. But over the years as is the case with most Indian legislation it is a wasteful exercise of time & money. Those who do not have a graduation degree still manage to get an ECNR stamped & a few like my husband get stuck in red tape.

Ok rant over.

Back to the Embassy, it was run pretty much the same as the Indian Passport offices are, minus the crowds. Things took as long as they would in any government office. But at least it got done !


Kripal Pais said...

As you have noted in your new passport, the government has come out with a notification saying that, unless ECR is explicitly stated, it will be considered as ECNR. If i remember right this notification has come more than a year ago. wouldn't suprise me though that the people in charge haven't heard of it. This is INDIA :)

Kim said...

the guys working in the passport office in In dia know of it, but the emabssies outside India dont seem to know. Yes it is India !

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