India’s plan to introduce orange-coloured passport jackets for some migrant workers is discriminatory and could increase the vulnerability of workers often duped by middlemen who promise them jobs, said legal experts and campaigners. The Ministry of External Affairs said last week migrant workers who need emigration clearance — those who have not passed 10th grade at school — to travel to a group of 18 countries, mostly in the Gulf region, would soon be issued orange passports.
“Passport holders with ECR (Emigration Check Required) status would be issued a passport with orange colour passport jacket and those with non-ECR status would continue to get a blue passport,” spokesman Raveesh Kumar said on Friday. Indian passports, barring official and diplomatic passports, are navy blue. The government’s plan was roundly criticised.