No end to woes of Gulf NRIs amidst COVID-19

Validation of Indian vaccine certificate become uphill task

By Irfan Mohammed

Jeddah: The ordeals of Gulf NRIs aftermath COVID-19 in India showing no signs of ending as one after other administrative and health procedures between India and Gulf countries come to the fore.

The acceptance of Indian vaccination certificates has become the latest hurdle that the NRI community is facing as India’s CoWIN portal is not recognized in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.

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Returning NRIs with vaccinations in India are unable to update their health status in gulf countries either digitally or physically. The presentation of a hard copy of the Indian vaccine certificate with a QR scan code goes in vain.

They are desperately seeking help in facilitating the Indian vaccine update with the host Gulf countries system.

“Indian Embassy came to know about the hurdles in updating returning NRIs’ health status in Saudi Arabia and we are addressing the issue with concerned health authorities”, Indian Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed recently told Indian community meeting in Jeddah.

The envoy emphasized that CoWIN of the Indian government is an authentic digital platform to verify the vaccination data of a person.

Attestation of Indian vaccination certificates

NRIs have been running behind travel agents for attestation of Indian vaccination certificates by the Saudi Arabian Embassy in New Delhi.

Although officially Saudi Arabia and the rest of GCC didn’t say anywhere about the requirement of attestation since it authenticated the documentation, NRIs opted for it.

In Hyderabad, several travel and recruitment agencies have been offering vaccination certificate translation and attestation.

Several NRIs are saying that they are paying between Rs. 6500 and 8000 for attestation of vaccine certificates by embassies.

Saudi Arabia and all other Gulf countries have their own Mobile Apps aimed at quelling the spread of COVID-19 besides updating the virus-relevant profile.

Tawakkalna (Saudi Arabia), Al Hosn (UAE) Tarassud (Oman) and Shlonik (Kuwait) are mandatory apps that people are required to use. Without showing health status in the app people are barred to enter public and working places.

The NRIs who were vaccinated in Gulf countries have no problem as their health status is being updated automatically.

However, those vaccinated in India and returned to the Gulf are facing an uphill task to update their immune status in those apps. It is noteworthy to mention that 122 people including Saudi health ministry employees and foreign workers were arrested in Saudi Arabia for fraudulently updating health status in Tawakkalna App.

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