Kerala to take up opening of UAE consulate

Thiruvananthapuram : The Kerala government will take up the delay in opening a UAE consulate here as the decision to do so was cleared last year, a state minister said Tuesday.

Earlier this year, the UAE officials have visited the state and sought support from us for opening up the consulate, State Minister for Diaspora K.C. Joseph told IANS.

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“We have no role in this but they (UAE officials) have asked us to extend our support if in case they had any difficulty in identifying a building. Since we are yet to hear from them, we will get in touch with them to find out,” said Joseph.

Joseph said the Saudi Arabian authorities are also in touch with the Kerala government. They have shown interest to set up their consulate in 2011. The then Saudi Ambassador to India met Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on setting up the consulate.

According to the studies by the migration unit of the ministry of overseas Indian affairs at centre for development studies here, the UAE and Saudi Arabia together account for 50 percent of the estimated two million Kerala diaspora.

“Consulate offices, once set up here, are going to be a great boon for the Kerala diaspora who are dependent on consular offices in Delhi and Mumbai for getting their certificates attested and for visa related issues. Besides, the business community would also benefit from them,” said Joseph.

Earlier this year, a consulate of Sri Lanka was opened here, while the Maldives also has a similar set up in Thiruvananthapuram. Germany recently opened up two visa facilitation centres in the state.