CUTS has undertaken the project titled “Study to identify hurdles
for independent Indian health service personnel in selected
countries under GATS Mode IV”. It aims to simultaneously focus on
experiences acquired by Indian professionals to draw lessons that
can facilitate in managing the temporary movement effectively. It
intends to highlight how the ongoing GATS negotiations can be used
to generate a stronger liberalising momentum in health sector. This
project is supported by World Health Organisation. This study will
be conducted for four months.
In case of Indian diaspora population, healthcare and information
technology are the two categories of workers, which have dominated
the migration from India to overseas. Movement of Indian healthcare
workers to industrialised countries and to the Gulf region has been
a long-standing phenomenon, going back to several decades. While the
movement of Indian healthcare workers to the Middle East and Gulf
countries has mainly been under short-term arrangements, their
movement to the industrialised countries has been mostly long-term
in nature. The majority of Indian physicians, who are abroad and
settled in Commonwealth countries.
However, the movement of these professionals under Mode 4 are
subject to a range of restrictions, which include wage parity
requirement, strict visa procedures, Economic Needs Tests,
non-recognition of professional qualifications, imposition of
discriminatory standards or burdensome licensing requirements,
payment of social security without corresponding benefits,
requirements of registration with or membership of professional
organisations. Besides, in the aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attacks,
security in the US became both an immediate and long-term concern.
There are concerns that various domestic regulations and
restrictions by the developed countries are essentially to protect
their own domestic workforce.
Empirical studies further indicate that even marginal liberalization
of barriers affecting movement of natural persons can produce large
gains. Recent estimates indicate that if industrial countries
increase their quotas on movement of skilled and low-skilled
temporary workers by an equivalent of 3 per cent of their workforce,
world welfare would rise by more than US $150 billion a year, with
these gains being widely shared within the world economy. Thus,
there is considerable scope to expand trade in services through
movement of natural persons and to benefit from such trade.