New norm, AI stir spoil Gulf jobs

With Kerala accounting for almost one-fourth of the Air India flight cancellations following the pilot strike, the state’s Gulf job aspirants face a bleak scenario.

Adding to their woes is a new system introduced by Gulf Cooperation Council Approved Medical Centres’ Association (GAMCA) to obtain medical fitness certificates.

Gulf sector fares have gone up by 50 to 60 per cent following the AI strike. About 200 AI flights have been cancelled in the last 17 days of strike, of which 50 were from Kerala and majority, Gulf services.

Owing to the last-minute cancellation of flights, many are not able to join duty before the expiry of the visa and many are not able to afford the heavy fares in the sector.

“Despite being a lean season, foreign airlines have hiked fares to Gulf countries,” said the Kerala Association of Travel Agents president, Mr. K.V. Muraleedharan.

Meanwhile, the recently introduced GMAC system for obtaining medical certificates, mandatory for employment in Gulf countries, is also a nightmare for job-seekers.

In the new system, an applicant cannot turn up for medical test directly at any of the 23 GCC medical centres in the state, but should enroll at any of the three GAMCA offices located in Thiruvananthapu- ram, Kochi and Kozhikode.

Hundreds of candidates who turn up at the GMAC centres daily wait for long hours and many were allotted medical test the next day, said Recruiting Agents Association of Kerala president, Mr. B. Vivek.

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