`Indian pros face economic test hurdle in EU'

Vinson Kurian


THE widespread use of the Economic Needs Tests (ENT) has emerged as one of the major artificial barriers preventing free movement of Indian service providers in the European Union countries.

A status paper prepared by the Global Association for People of Indian Origin (Gopio) on problems encountered by Indian IT and other professionals in the EU said that many of the member countries used ENTs to regulate trade flows in one or more modes and all or selected service sectors.

Another major issue experienced in EU is the language incompatibility between Indians in general and the co-employees.

It is also the social environment and difficulty to integrate socially that adds to the barrier.

Most professionals do not have the knowledge of the EU language.

Work pressure is a striking factor that prevents the professionals from attending classes.

One issue that should receive high priority is the taxation and pension policy in the EU countries. For example, the Belgian Pension and Social System deprive Indians the benefits of pension.

The situation has worsened in recent times with several Indians coming to Belgium for work faced with the prospect of not being able to access the Pension Fund after retirement.

The Government of India had to take up this issue with the Government of Belgium and other EU countries, the Gopio document said. Recently, Finland has allowed all Indians the right to Pension Fund.

Although intolerance against Indian professionals in Belgium is not very visible, one can certainly find a degree of uneasiness among some political parties.

"These racially divided political parties have the potential to create hatred against Indian professionals and this might turn out to be a major problem for our professionals in future.

"After having landed in Belgium, the treatment meted out to these individuals by local administrations is not worth writing to home about. Individuals wanting to register with certain communes or renew their stay permits are forced to undergo hardship and humiliation with certain practices of the local administrations in Belgium", Gopio said.


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