Emigration, as the literal view indicates, is an act of leaving one’s country in order to settle in another country permanently. There are many reasons for emigration like climate, economic conditions, poverty, religious and political discrimination, security etc. Emigrants are constantly subject to abuse and mistreatment as they are by and large unaware of the legal procedures of another country. Hence, the Indian Government is trying to overcome these situations by systematic interventions at the national and international sphere.

The Emigration Act of 1983 is a central legislation intended to unite, revise and improve emigration laws for the benefit of Indian citizens. This Act repealed the earlier legislation of 1922. The Act contains eight chapters and forty five sections. The Act excludes from the domain of the term ‘emigrant’, a person who is dependent to emigrant and a person residing outside India after completion of age of majority at-least three years including spouse and child. Where a person leaves India for the purpose of employment in any country other than India, he is said to be an emigrant and the process so called is emigration. The Act also bars the need of an agreement, arrangements, agent or an employer for the reason of emigration.

The Act empowers the Central Government to appoint officials as authorities under the Act through notification. The officials include Protector General of Emigrants and the Protectors of Emigrants. Accordingly, the Central Government can also appoint officers of emigration and employees of emigration to subordinate the Protector General and Protectors of Emigrants. The territorial jurisdiction of the authorities is also fixed by the Central Government. As a preventive measure, sufficient number of emigration check posts can be constituted by the Central Government for preventing or checking the contravention of the Act. At the same time, an official of Central or State Government can be appointed to supervise the emigration check post. The officers appointed by the Government concerned shall fall within the ambit of ‘public servant’ (Sec.21 of Indian Penal Code).

The Act makes it clear that emigration is possible only after obtaining the emigration clearance from the protector.To obtain registration an application shall be filed before the registering authority. The application must contain financial stability of the applicant, honesty, place of business operation, previous history and experiences of the applicant etc.If any application for registration is rejected, the aggrieved party has the right to file an appeal to the Central Government as per the provisions of the Act. The Act prescribes penalties for certain offences committed, but prosecution of the offences shall be initiated only after obtaining the prior permission of the Central Government. The Central Government may impose restrictions on emigration to a country if ampleground subsists with regard to sovereign rights of the country, integrity, peaceful relation with foreign country etc. For certain matters while trying a suit, the Protector General, the registering authority, competent authority and protectors are endowed with the powers of a civil court. The Act also confers power for delegated legislation. However, a non citizen is barred for recruitment or emigration under the Act and he cannot file an application to this effect.

The Act enables the Central Government, under Sec.43, to formulate rules to carry out the provisions of the Act by notification, thereby, the Central Government made Emigration Rules, 1983. An analysis of the above provisions brings to light the legislative intent headed for regulating the terms and state of affairs of overseas employment and to grant protection and safeguards for the interest of Indian workers going overseas for employment. The Emigration Act is welfare legislation for the protection of rights of Indian emigrants aimed to resolve the hardships experienced by them.