India signs mobility agreement with Austria to make work, study easier for Indians

by The Canadian Parvasi

Team Parvasi – Inside

While in Vienna on Monday, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a meeting with his Austrian counterpart and signed a mobility agreement with the Central European country to “ensure that the world is actually a global workplace for Indians.’’

Prior to inking the pact, Jaishankar, who arrived from Cyprus on his two-country tour, held discussions with President Alexander Van der Bellen, Chancellor Karl Nehammer, and Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

Speaking of the agreement, Jaishankar stated, “In plain words, that means we will try to make it easier for Indians who want to work here on business or as students and professionals.”

“And ensure that they are treated on more equal terms than what it was before. This for us is an important goal…India is a strong votary of legal migration and mobility. Irregular movement not only enhances the vulnerability of the people involved but is inherently exploitative,” he further stated.

“We want a fair, legal and equal opportunity to demonstrate the contributions of Indian skills and talents,’’ he said.

The pact, or the Comprehensive Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement, aims to “enable demands for skills and talents to be synchronized with their availability.”

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Similar pacts have recently also been signed with Germany, France, Portugal, UK and Denmark, Jaishankar noted.

The External Affairs Minister also highlighted the ‘Working Holiday’ programme, which is the first of its kind signed with any country. Under this programme, Indian students will be eligible to work for six months.

“It is a novel experiment. If it works well in Austria, we would like to take it forward in other countries,” Jaishankar opined.

Jaishankar’s counterpart, Foreign Minister Schallenberg asserted that Austria needed the influx of immigrants, but at the same time highlighted the problem of illegal immigration.

“The problem is not migration to be very clear. We want that we need them. The problem is illegal immigration… We need immigration, but immigration controlled by states and not by organised crime by human traffickers,” he stated.

While in Vienna, the External Affairs Minister also touched on India’s challenges in national security due to its neighbours. While Jaishankar stated that the nation faced “intense challenges’’ at its border with China in addition to the cross-border terrorism with Pakistan, he cited India’s relationship with Bangladesh as an “example of how successful diplomacy has directly contributed to a stronger relationship”.

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